First NBA Caf? in Asia to open in Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Hoopla Inc. today announced that the first-ever NBA Café in Asia will be coming to Manila at the soon-to-open SM Aura Mall in the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.

Scheduled to open in September this year, the NBA Café will feature a unique dining and entertainment experience that captures the excitement of the league through memorabilia displays, NBA highlights and programming, an NBA retail area, and will host viewing parties and appearances by NBA talent.

At the NBA Café, fans will enjoy quintessentially American bar and grill favorites and a selection of Asian-Filipino classics, giving it a local twist. It is the first sports bar and restaurant in Manila catering specifically to basketball fanatics and enthusiasts, in a nation where 40 million people play or have played the game.

This is the second league-owned restaurant set to open outside the US; an NBA Café also is planned for Madrid in 2013.  NBA City, the league’s first themed restaurant, opened in 1999 at the Universal Studios Resort in Orlando.

“Basketball fans in the country now have a place dedicated and designed specifically for them,” said Nian Rigor, Assistant Vice President, Hoopla Inc. “NBA Café will provide them a taste of the authentic NBA experience that they can share with family and friends, complete with great food, custom-made NBA Café Manila merchandise and the finest in basketball entertainment. This stays in line with our goal to bring new experiences and concepts to Filipinos.”

“The NBA Café will be a unique destination that will bring NBA basketball closer to our fans in the Philippines,” said Carlo Singson, NBA Country Manager for the Philippines. “Given their vast knowledge in the food and entertainment industry, Hoopla is an ideal partner to bring the NBA Café to life and to provide fans another authentic NBA experience.”

NBA legend Muggsy Bogues, who was in Manila for the finale of the four-month long Jr. NBA program, made a special stop at the site, conducting a hard hat inspection with NBA executives to monitor the progress of the NBA Café (see photo caption).

“This is my first time in the Philippines and I’m overwhelmed by the passion the people have for basketball here,” said Bogues, who at 5-3 is the shortest player ever to play in the NBA. “More than a restaurant, the NBA Café will be a destination where fans here can watch games in an entertaining atmosphere that captures the history and excitement of the NBA.”

The NBA recently announced a comprehensive global games schedule that will include a total of eight games in six countries this October, including the first ever preseason game in the Philippines. In addition, each year the NBA conducts local events in the Philippines, including the Jr. NBA youth development program, which has reached more than 60,000 students, parents and coaches over the past five years, and NBA 3X, the league’s global basketball competition and lifestyle event which will be conducted in 14 countries outside the US this summer.

Photo above shows Muggsy and Nian (center) looking over the floor plan of the NBA Café with (from left) Scott Levy, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, NBA Asia; Vicente Cheng, Chairman, Hoopla Inc.; and Carlo Singson, NBA Asia Country Manager-Philippines.

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