THE Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) will try to convince management of Mall of Asia Arena to make the stadium available after the transfer of basketball tournament to the much smaller Filoil Flying V Centre came under criticism.
Phisgoc executive director Ramon ‘Tats’ Suzara said the meeting was slated for next week after a hail of criticism on the decision to move the basketball competitions from the 20,000-seater Mall of Asia Arena to the Filoil Flying V Centre, which can seat about 5,000 spectators.
“There might be a chance. We will meet this week,” said Suzara.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) has already called for a bigger venue for the basketball competitions more so since PBA players will be representing the country in the biennial meet for the very first time.
Suzara said Phisgoc is open to moving the basketball tournament to the Philippine Arena, a venue located in Bocaue, Bulacan which can seat more than 50,000 people.
The Philippine Arena will be the site for the opening ceremony of the SEA Games, but will not be used during the competition proper.
Suzara, however, said the first option remains the Mall of Asia Arena.
“Philippine Arena, available naman. Back-up naman ang Philippine Arena pero ang priority ay MOA Arena. May chance na bumalik sa MOA Arena… Philippine Arena is always open because after the opening ceremony, so far, wala pang gagamit nun. Sabi ng SBP, too big for the SEA Games but that’s open,” said Suzara.
“I’m still crossing my fingers that we go back to MOA. I’m hoping,” said Suzara.
Suzara pointed out the need to secure a venue for a multisports hosting a week before the competitions. In basketball’s case, Phisgoc must also reserve the venue one week before the November 30 to December 11 showpiece.
“You have to understand. We have to set up the branding of the venue. You have to set up accreditation, security, temporary structures sa labas, technical, media entrance.
"It’s not the UAAP and NCAA na puwede na one-day before, pasok ka na. Kailangan locked down pa ‘yan for security. Kailangan one week before lahat ng venue,” said Suzara.