More big events up at MOA Arena
GOSH, it’s been a year since the Mall of Asia Arena opened its door to the public. I only realized this when I got an invitation last week to a press conference celebrating the first anniversary of the 64,085 square-meter, five-story venue.
Funny thing is, I can’t even remember the first sporting event held there.
Was it a PBA game or the opening of the 75th UAAP season last year, which was hosted by National University, also owned by SM’s Sy family?
As far as show biz entertainment is concerned, it was the two-day Lady Gaga “Born this Way Ball” that launched the new venue.
But while Lady Gaga was the most popular singing diva last year and even if her two-day show was full packed, it was Jennifer “J-Lo” Lopez who raked in the biggest revenue for MOA Arena on its first year.
J-Lo’s one-night concert generated a cool P100 million. She led a cast of world class artists that performed at MOA Arena in the last 12 months. Among them were Nicki Minaj, Aerosmith, Cirque Du Soleil, David Guetta, Swedish House Mafia and Big Bang.
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On its second year, the MOA Arena will stage two of the country’s biggest sporting events. One is the Fiba Asia Men’s Championship, the qualifying tournament for the 2014 World Cup in Spain. We last hosted the same event four decades ago in 1973 where we won the title. Tito Eduque steered that team, composed of, among others, Sonny Jaworski, Bogs Adornado, Jimmy Mariano, Francis Arnaiz, Manny Paner, Yoyong Martirez, Joy Cleofas, Dave Regullano and the late Tembong Melencio.
The Fiba Asia Games will be held from August 1 to 11 and about 20 teams from all over Asia are expected to participate.
The drawing of lots to determine the groupings is scheduled this coming June 6 at the MOA Arena with representatives from the participating countries expected to fly to Manila to join the event.
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The second big event that will be held at MOA Arena this year is a preseason game between the NBA’s Houston Rockets and Indiana Pacers. This is the first time ever that an NBA game will be held on Philippine shores and NBA enthusiasts are most excited.
So is Hans Sy, president of SM Prime Holdings Inc.
“This is definitely sports history in the making,” he said. “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.”
Meanwhile, NBA commissioner David Stern said the game here in Manila is an exciting opportunity to connect with the passionate basketball fans in the Philippines and across Southeast Asia.
“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,” he said.
Other sporting events to watch out for at MOA Arena are the opening of NCAA Season 89 on June 22, the opening of UAAP season 76 tentatively set on June 29, regular games of the two collegiate leagues and the PBA, the Blue versus Green Dream Game 2 and mixed martial arts competitions such as the ONE FC (Fighting Championship).
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