February 22, 2024

PBA games return at Ninoy Aquino Stadium after 13 years

AFTER 13 years, the PBA is coming back home at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.

The pioneering pro league in Asia will be holding not just one but seven total play dates in the venue located inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex for the season-ending Philippine Cup.

The first projected offering at the stadium whose wooden flooring now uses the same hardwood utilized during the hosting of the 2023 FIBA World Cup, will have games to be played back to-back on April 6 and 7.

In a special Saturday doubleheader on the 6th, it's Rain or Shine against Blackwater and Magnolia opposite NLEX.

Ironically, Rain or Shine and the Purefoods franchise were two of the four teams that last played at Ninoy Aquino Stadium 13 years ago.

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Then carrying the B-Meg brand, the Llamados played the San Miguel Beermen in the first game, while Barangay Ginebra clashed with Rain or Shine in the second match during the playoffs of the Fiesta Conference.

The following day (April 7), Ginebra also makes a homecoming as it plays Terrafirma in Sunday's main game, preceded by the Meralco-TNT tussle.

Commissioner Willie Marcial met with Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman Richard Bachmann recently to forge the partnership that formally signaled the return of the PBA at the Manila venue.

Marcial said he's excited to bring the games back at Ninoy Aquino after personally inspecting the playing court together with Bachmann.

Other games at NAS will be played on April 10, April 24, and May 5.

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At the same time, there will be two official playing dates to be held at the Caloocan Sports Complex on April 13 and April 27, respectively, after the venue hosted the first game of last year's PBA On Tour between Blackwater and NLEX.

Meanwhile, games are likewise going to be played at the Ynares Center in Antipolo, Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig, Philsports Arena, and the old, reliable Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Four provincial matches are scheduled in Candon City, Ilocos Sur on April 13, Tiaong, Quezon on April 20, Cagayan de Oro on April 27, and one on May 4 in a venue still to be announced. (RG)