For its historic first televised basketball event, the SM Mall of Asia Arena will play host to the resumption of the heated rivalry between the B-MEG Llamados and the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters, the protagonists of the intense 2012 PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals.
The new arena held its first concert last May, and has hosted several entertainment events as well as practices by professional and collegiate basketball teams.
But the Governors’ Cup semifinals tussle between B-MEG and Talk ‘N Text on Saturday will be the first official televised game at the state-of-the-art venue, which has been described by prominent observers as world-class.
The MOA Arena boasts of a 360-degree LED scoreboard, VIP boxes, and restaurants, and can sit 14,500 comfortably when configured for basketball.
B-MEG and Talk ‘N Text will face off in their opening assignment in the semifinals. The game tips off at 8 p.m. and will be aired live over AKTV.
The Llamados defeated the Tropang Texters in Game Seven of the Commissioner’s Cup finals in a controversial game that went into overtime, but Talk ‘N Text gained a measure of revenge in the current tournament by dealing B-MEG its worst loss of the conference, 89-72, last June 27.
Every game is crucial for the six teams left in the semis, which carried over the records from the elimination round. The top team at the end of the round-robin semis gets an automatic finals berth, while the No. 2 squad is guaranteed a playoff for a slot in the championship round. A team that wins four of its five assignments also gets a playoff for the finals spot.
B-MEG currently sits at second place with a 6-3 win-loss record, while Talk ‘N Text sits one game behind at 5-4, good for fourth place. Ginebra and Petron carry 6-4 cards, just half a game behind the Llamados in the standings.
The two teams held practice at the MOA Arena on Thursday to get acquainted with the venue. Members of both squads, such as Talk ‘N Text coach Chot Reyes and B-MEG star swingman James Yap, betrayed their excitement about playing in the new venue by tweeting pictures from practice.
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