MANILA, Philippines—“Big things are coming.”
The NBA in partnership with the SM Group will be bringing in the Indiana Pacers and the Houston Rockets to stage the first-ever NBA pre-season game in the country at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
“I am thrilled to announce that the NBA will have its first pre-season game in Manila between the Indiana Pacers and the Houston Rockets. The game will be held on October 10th at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Manila,” NBA Commissioner David Stern announced in a video message shown on the big screen of The Arena during the press conference Tuesday afternoon.
“Our game in Manila is an exciting opportunity to connect with the passionate basketball fans in the Philippines and across Southeast Asia,” added Stern. “The Philippines is an ideal setting for the Houston Rockets and Indiana Pacers to take part in a showcase of our game and give fans in the region an authentic NBA experience.”
The Rockets, a young and promising squad, will be headed by Olympic gold medalist James Harden and point guard Jeremy Lin while the Pacers, a legitimate contender in the East, will be led by All-Star Paul George and Danny Granger.
“This is definitely sports history in the making,” said SM Prime Holdings Inc. President Hans Sy. “The Filipinos are one of the biggest basketball fans in the world. It is only fitting that we bring the NBA preseason game to Philippine shores and SM will make it happen at the Mall of Asia Arena.”
“We will be bringing in two storied franchises to come here and play in front of such passionate fans,” said Senior Vice President of NBA Asia Scott Levy.
Rockets head coach Kevin McHale, one of the best big men in NBA history, also spoke in a video message expressing his team’s excitement over playing in Manila.
‘On behalf of the Houston Rockets, we can’t wait to play there and see the passion of the fans in the Philippines.”
The preseason game in Manila is part of the NBA’s global games schedule that features eight NBA teams in eight cities in six countries this October which includes Turkey, Spain, England, Taiwan, Brazil and China.
Aside from the on-court action, the NBA will also conduct community events and other grassroots program as a way of giving back to the community.
To date, the NBA has staged 138 preseason and regular-season games in 19 countries and territories across Europe, the Americas and Asia since 1978.