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    Top officials heed fans' clamor for bigger SEA Games basketball venue

    Mar 20, 2019
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    THE voices of basketball fans prevailed.

    The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) worked with the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) and the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) over the weekend to make sure the basketball event of the 30th SEA Games will be held at the Mall of Asia Arena, at it should be.

    SBP president Al Panlilio met with PHISGOC chief operating officer Tats Suzara and PO, C president Ricky Vargas in Hong Kong over the weekend to thresh out the issue after a plan to move the basketball competitions to the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan, supposedly because of the unavailability of the MOA Arena, angered fans.

    “We heard the voices of our people. We were also made aware that some sectors have started to put the blame on certain agencies without really understanding the complexities of the situation,” said Panlilio in a statement on Wednesday.

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    “The best way to solve an issue is to discuss peacefully and look for ways to find an acceptable solution.”

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    According to Panlilio, Suzara initiated the discussion and asked for the support of both the SBP and POC to bring basketball to a bigger venue.

    The MOA Areba can accommodate a crowd as huge as 20,000 while the Filoil Center is a 5,500-seater venue.

    The SBP already has an arrangement with the PBA that it will send an all-pro team to the SEA Games, which the country will be hosting for just the fourth time,

    “Holding an event of this magnitude is a shared responsibility among different sports leaders and even our people. This event is a showcase of our capacity to hold massive regional sporting events and can serve as a window for other countries to look at our country with a more positive outlook,” added Panlilio.

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    “Instead of playing the blame game, we took it upon ourselves to find an answer to the clamor. So together with POC president Ricky Vargas, PHISGOC COO Tats Suzara and the SBP, we were able to find a win-win solution."

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    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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