WHEN the Philippines presented its bid for the 2019 Fiba World Cup, the Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas included Cebu as one of the potential venues.
What excited the Cebuanos the most aside from being one of the host cities of basketball’s biggest event was the plan to put up a new arena at SM Seaside that would rival the Mall of Asia Arena.
Of course, we all know what happened afterwards. Not only did we lose the bid to China, the plans for a new arena were scrapped all together.
Though the Philippines won the 2023 co-hosting rights, Cebu got dropped as a venue and the Cebuano sports fans’ dream of having a new arena remains just that, a dream.
However, will a change in administration revive the plan? Weeks after the May 13 elections, some posts appeared online of how the plan to have a new arena is being revived.
I hope it’s more than a pipe dream. Cebu needs a new arena as much as LeBron James needs a new sidekick in LA.
Sure, we have the New Cebu Coliseum but when I first used that venue in an article I wrote for the Freeman over 20 years ago, my then sports editor told me to drop the word “new” as it was long past its expiration date.
It’s good enough for college games but that’s about it. I know the Philippine Basketball Association stopped considering it as a venue since the 2004 All-Star Game.
Lapu-Lapu City was able to host a few Alab Pilipinas games because of the Hoops Dome and I know if only Cebu City had a suitable venue, the organizers would have picked it as host.
But we don’t. And I hope that will soon change.
Yes, it may be naive to think that a Tomas Osmeña allied council and SM City would be bosom buddies but we can dream, can’t we?
MANDAUE. Over in Mandaue, there are no such uncertainties as mayor-elect Jonas Cortes will revive his plan to put up the Mandaue City Sports Complex, which was moth-balled by the outgoing administration.
Jamaal James Calipayan, my college buddy who is the chief of staff of mayor Cortes, told me they “will check all the papers and process the resumption.”
I suggested to him that they also consult football officials regarding the dimensions of the field so it would conform to international standards.
Metro Cebu needs a new field. Yes, we are going to have a world-class artificial pitch courtesy of the visionary that is Ugur Tasci of Leylam, but having another one won’t hurt.