Friday, May 18, 2012
Yao Ming, Shanghai Sharks playing in exhibition games in the Philippines in July
Source : AKTV
A selection of PBA stars with B-MEG coach Tim Cone at the helm will welcome the Chinese Basketball Association’s Shanghai Sharks, a team co-owned by former NBA superstar Yao Ming, in a friendly game at the newly-built SM Mall of Asia Arena on June 28.
PBA operations manager Rickie Santos confirmed the news to InterAKTV, adding that PBA selection would be composed of 16 players.
Reports of a possible Sharks trip to Manila have abound since March, when representatives from the Philippine Sports Commission and the Department of Foreign Affairs met with Shanghai vice general manager Qian Anke and team leader Wang Qun along with officials of the Chinese Embassy in Manila to set up details of the visit. The trip is part of the Memorandum of Agreement signed by the PSC with China’s sports minister Liu Peng last year for further cooperation.
Santos said the original plan was to hold two games, on June 29 and 30, but the PBA declined because it had scheduled matches on those days.
News of a basketball team from China’s visit to the Philippines comes as welcome development, considering the two countries are in the midst of a standoff over Scarborough Shoal, leading to increased tension between them.
Earlier, a planned friendly match on June 12 between the Philippine national men’s football team and its counterpart from China did not push through, but Philippine Football Federation president Nonong Araneta said that it was not related to the Scarborough issue. The Azkals, instead, are playing against Guam on Independence Day.
The Sharks’ trip is reportedly part of the Memorandum of Agreement signed by the PSC with China’s sports minister Liu Peng last year for further cooperation.
The Sharks are one of the most successful teams in the CBA, having captured the regular season and playoff titles in the 2001-2002.
Shanghai was also the ball club of Yao before he made a jump in the NBA with the Houston Rockets in 2002. Yao bought into the franchise in the 2009 after the team suffered financial issues.
Offers for PBA
But the Sharks aren’t the only squad looking to see action in the Philippines. A New Zealand club team has expressed its desire to play in a regular PBA tournament.
PBA commissioner Chito Salud, however, is cool to the idea.
“We don’t even have an invitational tournament, so I don’t think that’s possible,” he said.
Yao joining the trip
The good news: Retired NBA player Yao Ming will be joining the Shanghai Sharks, the Chinese Basketball Association team he co-owns, on their trip to the Philippines.
The bad news: The Philippine Sports Commission now has to find sleeping accommodations big enough for the 7-foot-6 Chinese superstar.
“The best thing is Yao Ming is coming. Nung nalaman nga namin namroblema kami agad kung saan sya papatulugin na hotel kasi matangkad sya. Sabi ko nga kung pwede natin dagdagan yung kama, dagdagan natin,” PSC chairman Richie Garcia told News5 on Friday.
The Sharks are scheduled for a friendly match against a selection of PBA stars coached by Tim Cone on June 28 at the newly-built SM Mall of Asia Arena, a game that Malacanang has called a “gesture of goodwill” amid tensions between the Philippines and China because of an ongoing standoff at the disputed Scarborough Shoal.
Garcia said that apart from a game against the PBA selection, the Sharks are also set to face the SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national team. It is unclear, however, whether SMART-Gilas will be composed of players from its pool from the PBA or top-flight amateurs on its cadet program.
The Sharks will also conduct basketball clinics for the youth during their visit.
Garcia added that the proceeds of the friendly matches will fund the PSC’s sports programs.
Malacañang sees it as goodwill
Malacanang said on Friday that the planned exhibition match between a selection of stars from the PBA and the Shanghai Sharks, a Chinese basketball team co-owned by former NBA superstar Yao Ming, is a “gesture of goodwill” between China and the Philippines, amid tension between the two countries over a standoff in the disputed Scarborough Shoal.
“A goodwill game is certainly one way of fostering better relations with the Chinese. It shows the multi-faceted relationship we have with China,” wrote Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda in a text message to News5.
“Since the goodwill game is still in the planning stage, it is too early comment, but we certainly welcome the basketball game as a gesture of goodwill between the two countries.”
The PBA announced that it will form a 16-man selection coached by B-MEG’s Tim Cone to play against the Sharks at the newly-built SM Mall of Asia Arena on June 28.
The Sharks’ trip was brokered by the Philippine Sports Commission and the Department of Foreign Affairs, who met with officials of Shanghai and the Chinese Embassy in Manila. The event is part of the Memorandum of Agreement signed by the PSC with China’s sports minister Liu Peng last year for further cooperation.
PSC chairman Richie Garcia said it’s a sign of the Philippines’ “healthy” relationship with China.
“Walang issues on political dito, this is just sports. Galing sa puso nila talaga to help. Ang relasyon natin sa China is healthy,” he said.
“The government is behind this. This can be a bridge to make the two countries talk”