By Nick Giongco
Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Ricky Vargas was speaking as PBA Chairman yesterday when he revealed the reason behind the coup that got basketball the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena back in place of The Arena in San Juan for the 30thSoutheast Asian Games.
Vargas said on Wednesday that the Smart Araneta Coliseum gave the PBA eight days as playdates during the Nov. 30-Dec. 11 SEAG but a last-minute “meeting of the minds” resulted in the MOA agreeing to play as host.
“Here’s what I did, I had the PBA work on this and they (PBA) got eight days but when I saw Phisgoc COO (Ramon) Tats Suzara in Hong Kong, we got MOA,” said Vargas, stressing that holding basketball at the Smart Araneta was already acceptable.
Suzara had bared last week that the Phisgoc wasn unsuccessful in getting either Smart Araneta and MOA because the two massive venues were already booked.
But given basketball’s immense popularity, the Phisgoc and Vargas were able to convince the MOA inner circle that it badly needed the venue.
“It was a matter of explaining to MOA,” said Vargas.
Meanwhile, an all-pro team will be fielded to the SEAG, added Vargas.
“The World Cup team will probably be tired by then and we have decided that another team will be formed,” he added.
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