USA TODAY Sports
The Indiana Pacers and Houston Rockets will reportedly play the first ever NBA game in the Philippines when they meet in a preseason game in Manila in October.
A couple of weeks ago, IC contributor Rams Dalumpines from the Philippines shared news out of Manila that the Indiana Pacers and Houston Rockets might play an exhibition game next October as part of their preseason schedule.
That report didn't confirm the game or teams involved but a new report out of Manila (hat tip: Pro Basketball Talk) has the Pacers and Rockets meeting on October 10th at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Manila. An official announcement with all of the details is scheduled for Tuesday.
Apparently, the Philippines has been lobbying the NBA for a preseason visit for some time, but just like a city looking for a franchise, Manila had to come up with a suitable arena situation to get a little love from David Stern.
Last June, InterAKTV first reported that the SM Group was working on bringing an NBA game to the Philippines.
"Hans Sy was invited by Commissioner Stern during the All-Star Game, and Hans told the Commissioner that he has an arena that is suitable for hosting one of the NBA games," said Junel Baculi, the athletic director of National University which is part of the SM Group. NU hosted this UAAP season, whose games were played at the MOA Arena.
The country has long been crazy about NBA basketball, but has not drawn consideration as a venue for the league's games because of a lack of a suitable venue. With the state-of-the-art MOA Arena, that has changed.
Man, Stern's ruthless playbook knows no borders. The game should bring plenty of excitement to the fans in Manila with James Harden, Jeremy Lin and Paul George among the high-profile young talent showcasing their skills.
This will be the second time in the past four years that the Pacers helped spread the reach of the NBA across the globe. In 2009, the Pacers played a pair of games against the Denver Nuggets in China.
UPDATE: The NBA officially announced the schedule which has the Pacers and Rockets playing in Manila on Oct. 10 and then in Taipei, Taiwan on Oct. 13.