The NBA has made a very strong attempt to globally brand the league. And in an effort to continue it, the NBA is heading to uncharted territory.
According to interaksyon.net, for the first time, the NBA will host a preseason game in the Philippines, featuring the Rockets and Pacers.
The SM Mall of Asia Arena will host the first-ever preseason exhibition game between two NBA teams in Philippine shores.
A new conference has been scheduled on Tuesday to announce the details of the game.
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.
(If you go to the Mall of Asia Arena website, it has a banner that says "BIG things are coming.")
At All-Star Weekend in Houston, David Stern was asked about international preseason games and seemed to indicate some would be coming. And there's no country more basketball crazy than the Philippines.
The NBA made a brief stop in the Philippines during the lockout in 2011 when Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul played in an exhibition against PBA All-Stars. That of course wasn't a league sanctioned event, though, because of the lockout.
The Rockets would be bringing Jeremy Lin, who has more than enough international clout, but honestly, it probably wouldn't matter much. The Philippines is a place that adores the NBA and will likely turn out in big numbers for the game.