(STAR) SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin M. Henson - A source close to PAGCOR chairman Ephraim Genuino texted the other day confirming plans to open a full Philippine consulate in Macau early next year. The assurance came after several overseas Filipino workers voiced their opposition to a reported move to close the extension office of the Hong Kong-based consulate in the former Portuguese colony.

The workers, some of whom have lived in Macau for over 10 years, expressed their sentiments during a STAR interview last weekend. They asked if their appeal could be mentioned in the papers to reach the proper government authorities.

Rather than shut down the extension office, the workers begged for the government to consider setting up a full consulate. Their appeal was carried in this column last Sunday.

The PAGCOR source sent this text early Sunday morning, immediately after reading the appeal in the STAR: “PAGCOR is assisting DFA in opening a full consular office in Macau. An office area has already been leased and should be operational by early 2008.”

That should be music to the ears of over 8,000 Filipino workers in Macau.

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The day before, Genuino himself was in Macau to witness the NBA preseason exhibition game between the Orlando Magic and the Cleveland Cavaliers at the jampacked Venetian Arena, a facility built inside a 10.5 million square foot, 32-storey hotel and casino resort in the Cotai Strip.

Genuino said he flew to Macau to check out the stadium, which opened its doors to the public for the first time in Orlando’s game against a reinforced Chinese national squad last Thursday.

“My dream is build something similar in a 70-hectare reclamation area off Roxas Boulevard,” said Genuino. “With private foreign investors pledging their support, we can do it. Perhaps, in 2 1/2 years, we could inaugurate a facility like the Venetian Arena and invite two NBA teams to play.”

When told that the starting bid for two NBA teams to play outside the US is $3 million, Genuino said that’s no problem.

“We have the support of some of the world’s wealthiest gaming operators,” said Genuino. “There will be no public money involved. We’re talking to Japanese, American and Australian investors. More are expressing interest to join our project. The vision is to build an entertainment city.”

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Genuino confessed he was impressed by the Venetian features, including a six-hectare casino floor area (the world’s largest), 3,000 suites with at least a floor area of 50 square meters each and 1.2 million square feet of convention space. But his plan for an entertainment city won’t pale in comparison, he added.

“At Casino Filipino right now, we’ve got an entertainment show, ‘Wander,’ that’s world-class,” he said. “Performances are thrice a week and each show is sold out. We’ve got performers from Russia, China and the Philippines. We’re getting more performers from Spain. Some cast members of ‘Miss Saigon’ are with us. We’ve signed the show for several years as proof of our commitment to provide first-class entertainment to the public. It’s a kind of Cirque de Soleil.”

Genuino said that if Macau could bring a slice of Las Vegas to its shores, the Philippines can surely do it, too. Not just a slice but a big chunk.

After the game, Genuino was introduced to NBA Asia marketing manager Carlo Singson and Solar vice president for marketing Jude Turcuato outside the Arena. He spoke about his vision.

“We’ll make it happen,” said Genuino who’s the chairman of the Euro-Asia Gaming Association. “Give us 2 1/2 years and we’ll bring an NBA game to the Philippines.”

In 1979, the Washington Bullets became the first NBA team to play in the Philippines. Elvin Hayes, Wes Unseld and Kevin Porter saw action against a PBA All-Star squad reinforced by imports. No other NBA team has visited again although several pick-up squads have come and gone.

Never in the history of Philippine sports has a game between two NBA teams been played here. In Asia, only Japan and China have hosted two NBA squads playing against each other. It appears Genuino is determined to add the Philippines to the list.

Tang heroics key Harbour win vs SEAG 5 By Abac Cordero Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Harbour Centre, and not the RP Team, played like the team that is bound for the SEA Games.

Behind TY Tang’s exploits, Harbour Centre yesterday dealt the RP Team an 83-74 loss and a rude welcome in the PBL V-Go Energy Drink Cup at the Emilio Aguinaldo College Gym.

Tang, coming out of La Salle, had a grand debut for Harbour Centre. In only 21 minutes, he had 26 points with no turnover. He was 4-of-5 from three-point range.

“I’m just happy. I had long wanted to play for Harbour Centre. But I was held back to play for La Salle,” said Tang after his performance worthy of a slot in the RP Team.

“Wherever they put me I’d be happy,” said the 23-year-old spitfire when asked if he would volunteer his services for the RP Team which is backed mainly by Harbour Centre.

Harbour Centre, eyeing a fourth straight crown in the PBL, trailed early on, zoomed ahead in the third quarter, 70-61, and never looked back for a great start in the tournament.

The Nationals, who are hoping to defend the crown in the Thailand SEA Games in December, lacked the desire to win and groped for form most of the time.

In the other game, Hapee Toothpaste opened its campaign on a happy note as it welcomed Fil-American Gabe Norwood to its fold with an 80-74 win over Mail & More.

“Inspired ang players with Norwood’s arrival,” said Hapee coach Jun Noel of Norwood who finished with 10 points and seven rebounds after only four practice sessions with the team.

The Nationals went 6-of-24 from three-point range, 20-of-41 from two-point area and 16-of-28 from the stripe, on top of 22 turnovers. A game like this will win nothing in Thailand.

“But the good thing is that it’s happening here so we can learn and still have time to adjust. I hope this does not happen in Thailand,” said RP Team coach Junel Baculi.

“It’s the attitude. It’s really our fault. No excuses. I hope this wakes them up. So when we get to Thailand we will be very, very ready,” he said of the RP Team made up of the best PBL players.

Baculi said the composition of the RP Team is not final, but said they’re 70 to 80 percent ready to win the gold in Thailand. The final decision may come in two weeks.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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