Collegiate basketball enthusiasts will take be the first to preview the
Extreme Transformation of the Smart Araneta Coliseum or the Big Dome
when the 88th season of the National Collegiate Athletic Association
(NCAA) opens on Saturday, June 23. Champion coaches of the NCAA also expressed their anticipation of better games at the venue where they
snared their most memorable victories.
Michael Noah, Chief Operating Officer of United Promotions Inc., who
signed the venue agreement with NCAA on behalf of the Araneta Group at
the Gateway Suites, aptly described the partnership between NCAA and
Smart Araneta Coliseum as “great cooperation resulting in good
competition”. Noah also expressed his excitement to welcome the droves
of screaming basketball fans that will troop to the Big Dome at the
start of basketball season of the academe. “The energy of these
hotly-contested games can be experienced to the hilt only at the Big
Dome because it conforms to elevation, lighting and acoustic standards
of world-class venues. Kids can cheer and jump all they want from any
part of the coliseum without fear of falling off the bleachers or the
stands. At the same time, the coliseum reverberates with the sounds and
cheers of excited fans like no other venue,” Noah emphasizes. He
stresses that because of the location of the Big Dome, especially the
convergence of major transport lines, MRT and the LRT that connects to
most of the schools in the league; the student populations enjoy the
viewing experience at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
But wait, there’s more.
NCAA coaches are also looking forward to having their varsity teams play
at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. First-time San Beda coach Ronnie Magsanoc
has only good memories about playing fifteen championships at the Big
Dome. “This is a place of victory for me. I remember the championship games I played here for San Beda, the University of the Philippines, Shell and as a member of the national team. These days I also enjoy
concerts in this venue. I am really glad that they are coming up with the parking building because I don’t have to park my car far from the venue any longer. Of course, since I live near the Loyola Heights area in QC, the Big Dome is more accessible to me.”
Former UST Champion coach and now Perpetual Help coach Aric Del Rosario
says that playing at the Big Dome is something that he prefers for his
players, “The floor has the right amount of bounce and that prevents
players’ injuries. That was essential especially during the times my
team won three championships against DLSU. I also really like the giant
scoreboard and the lighting. It is at par with international standards.
I should know I scored a four peat here. I just hope that part of the
current transformation is the elevation of the ringside area and
additional lighting at the bleachers.”
NCAA Assistant League Commissioner and former Crispa superstar Bai Cristobal says that he is eagerly looking forward to the improvements at the Big Dome. He remembers that he won six championships playing for
Crispa, one as a Purefoods cager and as a member of the RP youth team.
As a coach, he had several championships for San Sebastian College. He
too, is delighted at the new basketball goals, the bounce of the
flooring and the world-class sports lighting at the coliseum.
Noah assures that when the Extreme Transformation of the Smart Araneta
Coliseum is finished, the basketball experience will be even more
enhanced for fans, players and coaches. “There will be enhanced sports
lighting inside the coliseum which all athletes and fans will
appreciate. Over at the back of house, there will also be new locker
rooms and media lounges,” says Noah. The Green Gate is just about done
and soon, we will start work on the new seats, new concourse and rest
rooms. Rising just beside the Big Dome and connected to the third and
second levels of the Big Dome is a multi-storey parking facility that
can accommodate 1200 cars. Bridge ways to the Gateway Mall, Shopwise
and other adjacent shopping and dining places also ensure that students
and basketball enthusiasts enjoy the perks of an ultra-modern shopping
center during all weather conditions.
With the opening of the NCAA, the Smart Araneta Coliseum will once again
be roused with rip-roaring cheers from the country’s biggest colleges
Let the games begin!