There is a lot of talk about building the best sporting venue in Cebu for quite sometime. There was the ill-fated Cebu Megadome project that was expected to replace the aging, oven-hot "New" Cebu Coliseum. The planned state-of-the-art arena fell through the cracks as a big white elephant was constructed, the under-maintained, now-damaged Cebu Convention Center.
As the city grows with new businesses being built, new shopping malls constructed, more tourists flocking the shores and more people from the province move, there is big clamour for a new public venue for sports, concerts and other events. The recent success of the national basketball team has propelled stakeholders of the Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas to consider the idea of hosting the 2019 FIBA World Cup. It is natural for Manny Pangilinan and company to collaborate with the public and private sector to make sure that it will happen. SM City is the natural choice to help the bid become a reality. In fact, the mall chain has already built the best basketball arena in the country - the Mall of Asia Arena.
After Iglesia ni Cristo's Philippine Arena hosted the biggest basketball game in Philippine history, there is a growing push for more basketball arenas to be built in the provinces and its not a surprise that Cebu is one of the place that needs to have the very best venue. Davao is said to be building the so-called KJC King Dome of Pastor Apollo Quiboloy with a mind-boggling 75,000 seat capacity that would easily become the world's largest indoor arena / church!
No details have been released yet but a rendering has already been presented as a sneak preview of what it would look like. It is said that the 20,000-seat arena will be built in 2015 by the time SM Seaside City would open to the public. Also built alongside is the SMX Convention Center.
Unlike the modern-glass designed MOA Arena, the SC Arena has a green design similar to the mall with accentuated with a outdoor park bridge that connects it to the convention center. Lush green trees and manicured lawns will make sure that the entire surrounding will have all the trimmings of a green, environment-friendly architecture.
Since the 2019 FIBA World Cup needs at least 4 venues for the tournament, the SM Seaside City Arena would probably be host to the preliminary group play of at least 6 of the 32 teams that will compete in the tournament. It would probably host one of the quarterfinal or semifinal game. The final would probably be held in the Philippine Arena.
I would love to see an NBA Global Game in the SM Seaside City Arena or perhaps Gilas Pilipinas play one of its home games in the FIBA Asia qualifying tournament. CESAFI will have a permanent venue that will give the UAAP and NCAA a run for their money. Perhaps, it is time for the PBA to reconsider the idea of going home-away with Cebu having its team of its own for the first time since the Cebu Gems played in the MBA. Renewing the Gems-Slashers rivalry would be a blast now that they will have their own arena as well! Even without a team in the local pro league, it is expected that Cebu will have a team in the Asean Basketball League, that is if the league will still be around by 2017. Maybe having a UFC card in the city is also a good idea as well!
Photo Credits: Skyscrapercity