SEAG caging in small venue? SBP won’t take it sitting down
Basketball, the sport which this country embraces like a religion, will be played in a small venue when the Philippines hosts the Southeast Asian Games later this year.
But the ruling Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) won’t take that sitting down and will do everything it can to remedy that.
“We need bigger venues for Philippine games,” SBP president Al Panlilio, who is already in Shenzhen for the World Cup draw that will happen on Saturday, told the Inquirer over the phone, expressing dismay as to why this decision was arrived at.
“If it would be a game between Myanmar versus Malaysia, which no one will watch, maybe that could be played in a small venue,” Panlilio said. “But if it’s a Gilas game, our countrymen will definitely watch that.”
Reports have come out on Thursday that the Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) had failed to secure the MOA Arena for the cage competition, putting the games instead at Filoil Flying V Centre with a capacity of just over 5,500 fans.
And this is a development that does not sit well with Panlilio and the entire national basketball team leadership.
“We will ask the help of Mr. (Ricky) Vargas (the Philippine Olympic Committee president) on this matter.”
According to the report, the MOA Arena is unavailable because of prior bookings.
“Maybe Mr. Vargas can talk to [the Phisgoc] and ask what happened,” he said.
The SEA Games will happen after the World Cup in China, and Panlilio admitted that the SBP still doesn’t have a final composition of the team that will play in the biennial conclave.
The Philippines has won all but two of 19 cage golds in the Games, finishing second to Malaysia in 1979 in Jakarta and in 1989 in Kuala Lumpur.
The Filipinos have won the last 12 editions ever since that debacle in Malaysia.
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