Wed 2 September 2015

NBA Café to arrive in Manila

League-owned restaurant to open shop in September the first outside North America and in Asia

Former NBA player Muggsy Bogues and Nian Rigor look over the floor plan of the NBA Café with (from left) Scott Levy, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, NBA Asia; Vicente Cheng, Chairman, Hoopla Inc.; and Carlo Singson, NBA Asia Country Manager-Philippines.

With the hoop-crazy Filipinos still abuzz over the upcoming 2013-14 NBA Pre-Season matchup between the Houston Rockets and Indiana Pacers late this year, there’s another looming development that should definitely tickle the fancy of this nation of basketball-lovers.

For the first time in Asia, the NBA Café will arrive at SM AURA Premier in the Bonifacio Global City complex. As the first foray of the North American professional sports league in dining and entertainment outside their continent, this will definitely be a treat for the Filipino NBA fan.

Prior to the NBA Café’s opening this September, the only other restaurant established by the league has been the NBA City, opened in 1999 at the Universal Studios Resort in Orlando, Florida. Later this year, another branch of the Café is set to open in Madrid, Spain.

Similar to NBA City, the Café will boast of a museum of the league’s memorabilia, displays, NBA highlights and programming, and souvenirs from the league’s 30 teams to be sold in their shop. Eventually, live viewing parties and appearances by NBA talent will be held at the Café.

“Basketball fans in the country now have a place dedicated and designed specifically for them,” said Nian Rigor, Assistant Vice President of Hoopla Inc, the company managing and operating the restaurant. “NBA Café will provide them a taste of the authentic NBA experience that they can share with family and friends, complete with great food, custom-made NBA Café Manila merchandise and the finest in basketball entertainment. This stays in line with our goal to bring new experiences and concepts to Filipinos.”

“The NBA Café will be a unique destination that will bring NBA basketball closer to our fans in the Philippines,” said Carlo Singson, NBA Country Manager in the Philippines. “Given their vast knowledge in the food and entertainment industry, Hoopla is an ideal partner to bring the NBA Café to life and to provide fans another authentic NBA experience.”

NBA Legend Muggsy Bogues, who was in Manila for the conclusion of the four-month long Jr. NBA program, made a special stop at the site, conducting a hard hat inspection with NBA executives to monitor the progress of the NBA Café.

“This is my first time in the Philippines and I’m overwhelmed by the passion the people have for basketball here,” said former NBA veteran Muggsy Bogues, who at 5-3 is the shortest player ever to play in the league. “More than a restaurant, the NBA Café will be a destination where fans here can watch games in an entertaining atmosphere that captures the history and excitement of the NBA.”

The NBA recently announced a comprehensive global games schedule that will include a total of eight games in six countries this October, including the first ever preseason game in the Philippines. In addition, each year the NBA conducts local events in the Philippines, including the Jr. NBA youth development program, which has reached more than 60,000 students, parents and coaches over the past five years, and NBA 3X, the league’s global basketball competition and lifestyle event which will be conducted in 14 countries outside the US this summer.