The “big announcement” lived up to its hype, as some of the biggest names in Philippine basketball and media gathered at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City for the official announcement of the first-ever NBA preseason game in the Philippines on October 10, 2013. No less than the NBA Commissioner himself, David Stern, made the official announcement.
“We have a long tradition of bringing NBA basketball to fans globally, and in fact, the Philippines is part of that tradition,” Stern said in a video message, and then cited the 1979 game held in Quezon City between the Washington Bullets and the PBA All-Stars.
“We are pleased to be able to return with a game featuring the Indiana Pacers and the Houston Rockets, two young and exciting franchises with a terrific array of players,” said Stern, who acknowledged the Filipino’s passion for basketball and the NBA.
“Filipino basketball fans are among the most passionate in the world,” he added.
Members of the media and PBA players alike turned into excited fans upon hearing the historic announcement.
“I’m super excited and can’t wait for October 10, and I’m a big fan of Jeremy Lin,” said PBA point guard Chris Tiu of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.
“It’s great. The Philippines has a huge NBA fan base and it’s about time for them to come,” added Globalport’s Japeth Aguilar, who spent time during the offseason trying out for NBA teams and working out with the NBA D-League’s Santa Cruz Warriors.
Both Tiu and Aguilar were part of the Smart-Gilas team that played against NBA superstars like Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul in Manila during the 2012 NBA lockout, in an exhibition game that was not sanctioned by Stern and the NBA.
For the first-ever NBA game between two NBA teams in the country, the former national team teammates will be more than happy to simply be able to enjoy the show from the stands as fans like everyone else. With that said, both are already worrying about the same thing most fans have been asking about since the announcement: How to get tickets.
“I’m already asking people about tickets,” Aguilar said. “Hopefully, all their main players play major minutes despite it being a preseason game and give a show for the fans.”
“The next question is how to get tickets,” said Tiu. “I’m sure the Filipino fans are going to be extremely excited – not just the Filipino fans, but even fans around Asia. It’ll be easy for them to just fly over and come watch the game. I’m sure it’s going to be packed and tickets will be on demand, so I hope I can still get good seats.”
Organizers will be announcing ticket prices and sale dates soon, and with the game still about seven months away, fans who don’t pull cash from endorsements like the popular Tiu, still got plenty of time to save – even just for nosebleed seats.
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