Through a taped message shown on the MOA Arena big screen, NBA Commissioner David Stern officially announced that the Indiana Pacers will face the Houston Rockets at the Mall of Asia Arena on October 10, 2013. In his message, Stern highlighted that the Philippines has the most number of NBA fans on Twitter and Facebook outside of the United States.
Houston Rockets Head Coach and Boston Celtics legend Kevin McHale also prepared a message for NBA fans in Manila. This October's historic pre-season game between the Rockets and the Pacers will be a landmark NBA event, not just for the Philippines, but for the entire Southeast Asia region as well. Surely, basketball fans from neighboring countries like Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and Hong Kong will plan to fly to Manila to watch the game as well.
Since I believe in the globalization of basketball, I'm not stunned to learn that players like Houston's James Harden and Jeremy Lin and Indiana's Paul George and Danny Granger are officially scheduled to play in Manila. In the context of the NBA's logical move to reach out to more fans in Asia as well as the Philippines' natural ability to attract the best athletes and performers, I believe this event is not just an end point. I believe this event will be a starting point for even bigger things ahead for basketball fans.
"This is definitely sports history in the making," Mr. Hans Sy, SM Prime Holdings Inc. President, said. "The Filipinos are one of the biggest basketball fans in the world. It is only fitting that we bring the NBA pre-season game to Philippine shores. And SM will make it happen at the Mall of Asia Arena." MH