MOA record capacity
SPYBITS (The Philippine Star) - October 15, 2013 - 12:00am

The SM Mall of Asia Arena (MOAA) in Pasay City was the scene of a heart-stopping UAAP Season 76 championship game that pitted De La Salle University against the University of Sto. Tomas. A sellout crowd of approximately 23,350 watched the do-or-die Game 3 that saw the Green Archers overcoming a 15-point deficit to force an overtime, which they eventually won against the Growling Tigers 71-69. 

SM Prime Holdings president Hans Sy was all smiles (as shown in photo) – and not just because his alma mater team won the UAAP basketball crown but because everything seems to be going so well with clockwork precision for SM MOA (literally filled to the rafters during last Saturday’s championship) which has been dubbed as an entertainment “eyecon” on account of the Arena logo that resembles a gigantic eye.

Both Hans and his sister, SM Prime Holdings director Tessie Sy-Coson, have made every effort to make the MOA Arena a byword when it comes to delivering that ultimate entertainment experience because of its top class features and amenities. It has private deluxe rooms known as Premium Suites – very much like the luxury boxes in first class arenas in the US – located just above the Lower Box section and furnished with its own restroom, a mini bar, plush seats and a glass-paneled viewing deck.

It’s only been a little over a year since the Arena officially opened in June 2012 but world class acts have already graced the venue like Lady Gaga (who held the Manila leg of her “Born This Way” tour a few weeks before the formal launch of the MOA Arena), Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, JLo, Aerosmith and other international artists. And just recently, the Arena was also the venue of the historic first ever NBA game in the Philippines, with tickets almost sold out as early as the first week of September.

Hans told us he will continue working to make things even better, and that includes coordinating with the MMDA and the local government units concerned to make the traffic situation flow as smoothly as can be for the roads leading to MOA and make it as conveniently accessible as possible not only for motorists but commuters as well. Aside from the parking building that can accommodate 2,000 vehicles, MOAA’s proximity to the airport makes it very feasible as a venue for international acts – especially when the project that will connect the skyway to the airport finally gets done. 

La Salle win perks up ECJ

Business tycoon Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr. (ECJ) who has by all intents and purposes already retired, is now pouring his attention towards helping the youth through sports and education. No one can mistake ECJ’s passion in helping La Salle reclaim the glory of being UAAP champion – and last Saturday’s game saw ECJ’s support starting to pay off with the Green Archers clinching the UAAP 76th Season championship.

It was really a come-from-behind win, with the odds seemingly stacked against the DLSU team which had a dismal a 3-4 win-loss record during the first phase of the eliminations – most likely because one of its front liners was sidelined with an injury a month before the games began. As if that wasn’t enough, the head coach was recalled, leaving rookie coach Juno Sauler to keep the ball rolling with a lean 13-man team that got people predicting a grim finish for the Archers.

Those in the know, however, disclose that the players got a big morale boost from “Boss Danding” who expressed his confidence that the boys will give it their best “until the end.” And true enough, the Green Archers went on a nine-win streak that brought them to the finals and ultimate victory – the first ever after a six-year drought. ECJ admits also feeling the excitement and pressure during Game 3 of the finals, saying it could have been anybody’s ball game. 

It’s only been two years since ECJ (seen in photo with Jesuit-educated US Ambassador Harry Thomas who watched the game) became La Salle’s patron, donating a hefty P250 million which the school can use not only for developing sports but for whatever purpose it sees fit. Everybody knows that ECJ is passionate about education, believing it to be “the great equalizer” that can help an individual uplift his condition in life.

Friendly competition

The UAAP finals between La Salle and UST was watched by Araneta Group CEO Jorge “Nene” Araneta whose Smart Araneta Coliseum or the “Big Dome” is in friendly competition with SM MOA Arena. Not surprising really because Nene Araneta happens to be an alumni of La Salle. The Araneta and Sy families have been friends for many years, with SM being one of the biggest and oldest stores at the Araneta Center in Cubao since 1967.



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