Barrios: Fiba Asia caging could be held at Big DomeBy June Navarro
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas wants the Smart Araneta Coliseum to be the venue of the 2013 Fiba Asia Championship if the country wins hosting rights for the world championship qualifier.
SBP executive director Renauld “Sonny” Barrios recently sat down with Smart Araneta officials and discussed the infrastructure requirements of the Asian championship slated next year.
Three continental slots to the 2014 Fiba World championship in Spain are at stake in the Asian continental tournament and the SBP wants to gain a sort of homecourt edge by hosting it.
Araneta officials told Barrios that modern improvements to the Big Dome, the country’s largest indoor, multipurpose sports arena with a seating capacity of 15,000, would start to become visible in the middle of this year.
“[Owner] George Araneta was very gung-ho on hosting the 2013 Fiba Asia championship,” said Barrios. “I showed them the kind of new venues that Fiba Asia would be playing and the American consultant they hired assured the improvements will be world-class.”
Adjacent to the Big Dome is the Gateway Mall and a five-star hotel, which is expected to be operational by next year.
Barrios said the hotel beside the coliseum will house the participating teams as well as Fiba officials for two weeks, eliminating transportation concerns for the entire tournament entourage.
Qatar and Lebanon are also bidding to host the tournament.