Limpag: Finally, Cebu City gets something really new

Mike T. Limpag

FOR a major city known for its basketball, it is surprising that Cebu doesn’t have a top notch facility that can host PBA games. It is one of the things that surprises first-time visitors to the city.

Sure we have the Cebu Coliseum, but when I first joined sports media 21 years ago, I was advised by the then sports editor of the Freeman to drop the word “New” from its name. It was no longer new than, it surely isn’t new now.

The last time the Cebu Coliseum hosted a major activity was the PBA All-Star in 2004, and I think that was one event that prodded the league to remove the venue as potential host of future games. Too hot, too small and with an archaic score board.

Now, PBA games in Cebu are played at the Hoops Dome and when Gilas Pilipinas looked to Cebu for a training camp--to get away from the traffic and stress of travelig in Manila--they also used the Hoops Dome.

Putting up a world-class venue isn’t a priority for Cebu City and since there’s no incentive for the owners of the Cebu Coliseum to renovate their place--why would they, they’re the only player in town--I knew we’d have to wait for an outside player to address the issue.

SM could have done that as the conglomerate planned to put up a MOA-like facility in Seaside but well, we all know what happened so the plans went kaput.

Enter Cebu Province. The Cebu Province Sports Commission is planning to put up a P20 million facility in one of its idle lots in Sudlon, Lahug, one that could not only be used for basketball but for other indoor sports as well.

I think even if it’s just a basketball-centric facility, it’s going to be a welcome addition to the city. Atty. Ramil Abing, the CPSC secretary general, told me last week that’s it’s going to be a phase by phase construction and will be constructed in the area where archery, and sometimes, horseback riding, are played.

With so many Sunday leagues around, Atty. Abing is confident that the facility will eventually pay itself. But aside from that, what I like about the plans for the venue, is that it’s going to be the training ground for Cebu Province’s athletes and they need it. Heck, I hope, they’d be generous enough too, to let Cebu City athletes use it, considering how our Cviraa-bound just train in whatever space they find at the crowded Cebu City Sports Center.