(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 12, 2020, an NBA logo is shown at the 5th Avenue NBA store in New York City.  (Photo by Jeenah Moon / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)

MANILA, Philippines — Following the closure of its physical stores across the country two years ago, it was only a matter of when will the NBA return and cater back to one of its most passionate fanbases in the world.

Basketball-crazy Filipinos won’t have to wait any longer as the NBA on Thursday announced the relaunch of its official online store in the Philippines which will go live beginning next month.

“It is very important to relaunch our official online store in the Philippines, a market known for its basketball affinity. We know Filipino fans want to celebrate their fandom and express their support for their favorite teams and players so we look forward to outfitting them with gear from all 30 NBA teams and deepening their connection with the league,” Lesley Rulloda, NBA Asia Associate Vice President of Global Merchandising, told INQUIRER.net.

NBAStore.com.ph will be up and running starting Aug. 6 and will be under the operation of Titanomachy International, Inc. (Titan) after the basketball specialty concept store struck a multiyear merchandising partnership with the league for the relaunch.

The development couldn’t have come at a better time with the NBA season also set to restart on July 31, more than four months since its indefinite suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The NBA store returns to the Philippines. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

With the pandemic still at large in most parts of the world including the Philippines, businesses have taken a major hit which has led to an uptick in e-commerce expansion.

“From a retail perspective, the shutdown of physical stores during the pandemic has accelerated the growth of e-commerce, which offers a strategic opportunity for NBAStore.com.ph,” Rulloda said. “We look forward to a smooth launch in time for the NBA season restart to provide fans in the Philippines with access to authentic NBA gear.”

Since the exit of NBA Store Philippines, selection of NBA merchandise has been scarce.

But all that is about to change, according to Rulloda.

“We look forward to providing passionate Filipino fans with unprecedented access to authentic NBA products through the relaunch of the league’s online store,” she said.

Apart from a comprehensive variety of authentic merchandise, NBAStore.com.ph, the league’s 25th branded international online store, will also offer special collections and exclusive product releases highlighted by locally designed apparel like the NBA Philippines Tees Collection.

The PH-inspired shirts will be available during the launch, which is only the start of bigger things to come for the NBA in the country.

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