Basketball-crazy fans in the country might have to be content cheering the PBA-backed Philippine team in a smaller venue when the Philippines plays host to the 2019 Southeast Asian Games from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.
For now, basketball games appear to be moving to Filoil Flying V Centre and volleyball to PhilSports Arena, moves tentatively confirmed to ESPN5 by Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) executive director Ramon Suzara.
"Yeah that's correct, though it might not be the final, but this is the latest movement because MOA Arena and Smart Araneta begged off in the full days of the SEA Games," Suzara said.
Originally, basketball games were scheduled for the biennial games at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, while volleyball games were slated for the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
But Suzara said the famed MOA Arena is only giving six days for basketball and Araneta Coliseum only four days for volleyball, forcing the Phisgoc to consider other options.
"It's unfortunate, but we were talking to these venues since May 2018. We didn't lack in communicating and meeting with them," Suzara said.
Suzara added the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan, is another option, but the 55,000-seat indoor venue is too big to host basketball.
He also ruled out holding basketball and volleyball games outside Metro Manila.
ESPN5 reached out to Samahang Basketball Pilipinas president Al Panlilio for comment, but Panlilio has yet to respond.
Aside from the basketball and volleyball uncertainties, gymnastics has been moved from the SMX Convention Center to the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.