The historic Araneta Coliseum, and not Cebu, will be the venue of the 2017 Southeast Asian Basketball Association (SEABA) Championship to be held on May 12 to 18.
No less than Gilas Pilipinas Head Coach Chot Reyes made the announcement on Friday night; ending the dream of the Cebuano fans to witness the country’s finest basketball players compete against their Southeast Asian counterparts.
“SEABA now confirmed at Araneta from May 12-18,” Reyes posted on his Twitter account.
Manila and Cebu were the choices of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) to become the venue of the seven-nation tournament with the winner advancing to the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Asia Cup, formerly the FIBA Asia Championships.
But the SBP opted for the tried and tested Quezon City, which hosted several big international sporting events in the past including the Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier famous fight in 1975 popularly known in sports history as Thrilla in Manila.
The 2017 SEABA Championship is a must-win tournament for Reyes and the Gilas quintet to be able to compete in the FIBA Asia Cup, to be held in Beirut, Lebanon from August 17 to 27.
Also seeing action in the SEABA joust are Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
The inaugural FIBA Asia Cup will determine the joint composition of the FIBA Asia and Oceania qualifiers for the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China.
Host Lebanon, West Asia teams Iran, Jordan, Iraq and Syria, Oceania’s Australia and New Zealand and Gulf’s Qatar have secured spots in the 14-nation tournament.
Besides Southeast Asia, East Asia (five teams), Centra Asia (one) and South Asia (one) have scheduled their respective sub-zone qualifiers.