Mendoza: PBA Coliseum is long overdue

·2 min read

This is an old idea but I’ll say it just the same. Again, it’s the call of the times. As in a May Day wail.

The need for the PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) to have a coliseum that it can call proudly its own beckons anew. Its absence has been that irritatingly true, tearing at the heart for years now.

Where have all the flowers gone? Where did the PBA’s top priority go?

I recall the glorious days when the late and lamented Rudy Salud ruled the league with so much passion, his term as commissioner marked by his burning desire to build the PBA Coliseum.

There had been project studies, with the sprawling Manila Seedling Bank along Edsa in Quezon City as one of those targeted to construct the home of Asia’s first play-for-pay league. Sadly, nothing concrete came out of it. Heck, the eminent Rudy Salud took his dream to his grave.

Rudy’s memory came rushing back, sparked by what the league has been sorely experiencing the last two years or so.

Since the pandemic struck in March 2020, the PBA has become a pathetic sight as it struggled to find a venue for its games.

Suddenly, Asia’s pioneering pro loop was transformed from superstar to a virtual squatter, or informal settler if you will. It became like a pitiful typhoon victim begging for either relocation or repatriation.

It barely survived its first pandemic-plagued conference in 2020 in the Pampanga bubble across Clark and Mabalacat.

And, after a frantic search for another venue to stage its first conference for 2021, the PBA eventually went back to Clark for a second bubble, with the games ending up in an obscure school gym in Bacolor, Pampanga. It was like seeing the NBA play its games in the Sahara desert.

Champions Ginebra in the 2020 All-Filipino and TNT Tropang Giga in the 2021 All-Filipino celebrated minus the usual hoopla inside fan-empty venues.

After another anxious search, the PBA settled to stage its Governors’ Cup at Ynares Center, another unpretentious gym in Pasig City.

If it’s any consolation, the league, which opens on Wednesday (Dec. 8), will—as of this writing—allow at least a 50 percent fan capacity. A big boost to the PBA’s will power to lick the plague.

When will the PBA Coliseum become a reality? That will be the day.

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