MANILA, March 20 (Xinhua) -- The 5x5 basketball competitions of the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games will still be held at the Mall of Asia (MoA) Arena in Metro Manila after all, Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) head Ramon Suzara officially announced here on Wednesday.
News broke last week that the venue for Filipinos' favorite sport was moved to the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan in Metro Manila from the MoA Arena.
According to Suzara, the MoA Arena initially gave Phisgoc just a number of days to use while basketball competitions will be played for at least one week, and therefore they decided to transfer the events to another venue.
Concerns were raised when the 5,500-seater Filoil Flying V Centre was announced as the main venue for basketball instead of the 15,000-to-20,000-seater MoA Arena, but organizers were able to work things out.
"[After] going with a lot of meetings and discussions, and telephone calls, finally we have the MoA Arena. I'm sure everyone is very happy," Suzara said.
Suzara, representing the Phisgoc, and the MoA Arena management, led by the owner's Chief Operating Officer (COO) Herman Medina-Cue sealed the deal in a meeting on Wednesday morning to make the booking possible.
"There were a lot of complications because of advance bookings and reservations that we had to work out with different entities to make the schedule available," Medina-Cue explained, mentioning that the dates December 1 to 10 have now been freed up to accommodate the SEA Games basketball competitions.
"They've been supporting our cause and they've been holding world-class events here. For me, the MoA Arena is the only world-class venue in the Philippines," Suzara said.
"Everyone is happy that basketball, the national team will be playing here at the MoA Arena," he concluded.
The Philippines have won 17 of the 19 men's basketball events since the SEA Games were played except in 1979 and 1989 when Malaysia snatched the gold medals.
With the 5x5 basketball competitions now back to its first choice after negotiation, the Filoil Flying V Centre will instead be the home for the 3x3 basketball.
The MoA Arena will also hold the SEA Games' ice skating, speed skating, and ice hockey events, according to Phisgoc.
2019 SEA Games, which will be held from November 30 to December 11, is the fourth time the biennial multi-sport event comes to the Philippines after 1981, 1991, and 2005.