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PBA eyes regular games at Rizal Memorial next season

March 23 ------ THE PBA is already setting its sights at returning to the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in the coming seasons to reach out to more fans especially in the Manila area. 


PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said playdate at the 90-year-old venue isn’t a one-off, as there are already plans to hold more games on a regular basis. One plan of the league is to stage a game between San Miguel and Meralco next season with the teams wearing retro uniforms. 


The two teams have a rich history in Philippine basketball with San Miguel being the only remaining pioneer team in the league. And although the Bolts was founded 2010, Meralco, as a company, previously participated in the Micaa during the pre-PBA years. Saturday’s playdate at Rizal, a first for the PBA since the early 1980s, will see Blackwater facing Terrafirma at 3 p.m., and Magnolia Chicken Timplados opening its Philippine Cup stint against Converge at 6:15 p.m. 


Marcial said the Rizal playdate is also a way of the league to bring the fans closer to the games outside of the traditional venues such as the Smart-Araneta Coliseum and SM Mall of Asia Arena. “Sinubukan natin ang Rizal Memorial kasi iba naman ‘yung crowd na nandoon,” said Marcial. 


The PBA had inspected the venue with the Philippine Sports Commission through the help of its chairman Richard Bachmann. The PSC installed a flooring that originated from the Blue Eagle Gym and was previously used at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium when it served as a practice venue for the Fiba Basketball World Cup last year. The Ninoy Aquino Stadium itself is hosting a couple of playdates starting in April to also cater to the Manila crowd. 


Marcial said Ninoy will also be a regular venue of the PBA in future conferences. “Talagang lalaro na tayo doon para maikot natin at gusto kong mailaro din doon ‘yung San Miguel at Meralco,” said Marcial. 




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