ENGR. Pete Pineda, who oversees the overall renovation of the Philippine Sports Commission-administered facilities for the 30th Southeast Asian Games, yesterday assured the repairs on the Rizal Memorial Coliseum, Ninoy Aquino Stadium and the Philippine Sports Arena will finish ahead of schedule.
“We are ahead of the Nov. 15 deadline the PSC set for the contractors,” Pineda said during an ocular inspection of the heritage-rich Rizal Coliseum as well as the stadium named after the late Sen. Benigno Jr.
“We are presently 90 percent through with the repairs of these facilities and all we need to do is set up the seats and air-conditioning properly,” added Pineda, who has been with the PSC since its establishment in 1990.
Pineda issued the assurance in the wake of reports (not in Malaya-Business Insight) that the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee was looking for others options in the event the venues would not be finished on time.
Built in 1934 in time for the 10th Manila Far Eastern Games, the 8,000-capacity Rizal Coliseum will now have fewer fixed seats since the new design will have retractable ones at ringside, Pineda said.
The facility will open its doors on Nov. 13 for a pep rally and concert for the Philippine contingent to the SEA Games featuring popular singer Bamboo.
The facility will be used for the SEA Games artistic gymnastics competitions where among those competing is world men’s floor exercise champion and Olympic-bound gymnast Carlos Edriel Yulo, who has returned to Tokyo to resume his intensive training.
Constructed near an estero beside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, the 6,000-seat Ninoy Aquino Stadium was first used as the volleyball venue for the 1991 SEA Games and for table tennis in the 2005 edition of the SEA Games.
The Philippine Sports Arena, formerly the University of Life Theater and Recreation Arena or more commonly known by its acronym ULTRA, was first used in the 1991 Manila SEA
Games and was the former home of the PBA under the late commissioner Rodrigo Salud.
Pineda said that aside from the new LED scoring and upgraded air-conditioning system, the Philsports Arena will look more attractive because of the installation of a modern “aluminum cladding” around the building.
The 2019 SEA Games volleyball competitions scheduled Dec. 2 to 10 will be held in this facility.
Pineda added the squash court within the RMSC would not be completed in time since the adjustable courts for the jumbo doubles that were imported from Germany would arrive only on Nov. 27. He said the Philippine Squash Academy is now looking for an alternative venue.