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FIBA WC final phase moved to MOA Arena

World-class playoff basketball comes your way at the MOA Arena. Rick Dela Cruz (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—The knockout stages of the FIBA World Cup will now be played at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

FIBA announced the development on Friday during its central board's meeting in the Philippines on the eve of the tournament's group draw.

"The main concern leading to the decision was the requirement to provide consistent and swift transfer of the teams and fans to multiple games over the six days of the Final Phase," FIBA said in a statement.

The apparent crucial factor in the decision was how transportation was during the de facto test event for the World Cup itself, the sixth window of the Asian qualifiers last February.

The Philippine Arena in Bocaue was initially announced as the venue for the FIBA World Cup playoffs, but after observing "serious traffic and transport concerns" in and out of the arena during the said window as well as other events that took place recently there like Game 7 of the PBA Commissioner's Cup Finals last January despite the full operation of the new Ciudad De Victoria Interchange along North Luzon Expressway, the change has to be made.

"Despite improvements tested with transport and traffic engineers, the Board came to the conclusion that an event with multiple sessions in one day, like the Final Phase of the World Cup, couldn’t be delivered to the standards required for the players and fans experience," FIBA further said.

To make up for the arena change, FIBA said that the first two games for Group A will be played at the Philippine Arena "in order to keep a key component of the bid, which was to establish a record of attendance at the World Cup."

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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