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Makeover of Rizal Memorial Coliseum under way

THE Rizal Memorial Coliseum, where many of Philippine sports’ finest moments have taken place since 1934, is on its way to a mighty upgrade, according to the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).

While the facade and the original structure won’t be touched since it is a historic landmark, the playing and seating areas as well as the dressing rooms are going to be redone to meet modern standards, said PSC deputy Executive Director Guillermo Iroy.

While the Rizal Memorial Coliseum is being modernized, its façade and structure will not be touched. The Coliseum will be used in the coming SEA Games. (Nick Giongco)

While the Rizal Memorial Coliseum is being modernized, its façade and structure will not be touched. The Coliseum will be used in the coming SEA Games. (Nick Giongco)

Repairs to the 85-year-old Art Deco structure designed by national artist Juan Arellano, began last June and Iroy was assured by the contractors that it will be ready in time for the 30th Southeast Asian Games scheduled Nov. 30-Dec. 11.

“The work being done is round-the-clock, 24 hours,” said Iroy, assuring that the PSC is rushing it so it can be the site of SEAG events.

The Rizal Memorial Coliseum used to be the home of big-time basketball—commercial and collegiate – even way up to the 1990s before falling into deterioration.

It was also the venue of title fights during the 1950s and 1960s featuring Flash Elorde.

Iroy said the coliseum, which can accommodate 8,000 prior to its rehabilitation, will finally be air-conditioned and the move to modernize it has caught the attention of the UAAP.

“We’ve received inquiries about the use of the venue from the UAAP,” said Iroy, stressing that there is a huge interest from private groups to use the venue.

The Rizal Coliseum was a part of the entire Rizal Memorial Sports Complex that was built in 1934 and it was used to hold events during the 1954 Asian Games.

Funds that were used to finance the major repairs were taken from the P800-million that was given to the PSC by Pagcor. (NICK GIONGCO)

 

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