Mario Morales Coliseum Honors a Legend
Located in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico the Mario Morales Coliseum is an indoor sporting arena which is mostly used for the game of basketball. This arena, with a seating capacity of 5,500 was opened in 1983 and is home to the basketball team, Guaynabo Mets. The Mario Morales Coliseum is also used for roller derby, volleyball, boxing, martial arts and music concerts.
Mario Morales was one Puerto Rico’s most famous basketball players. He earned himself the nickname of “Quijote Morales” because he conquered both scoring and team championships in the Puerto Rican BSN (Baloncesto Superior Nacional – National Superior Basketball) league. He became a member of the BSN’s Cangrejeros De Santurce in 1974 at the age of fourteen, going on to become a member of Puerto Rico’s national basketball team four years later. Morales made it with his team to the Olympics for the Seoul games in 1988 and again in 1992 for the games in Barcelona where his basketball skills made a deep impression on international audiences.
In 1976 the team Cangrejeros moved to Guaynabo and changed their name to the Mets de Guaynabo. Mario Morales, together with his brother-in-law Federico Fico Lopez, were the driving force behind the Mets into the 1980s and took the team to a total of eight BSN finals, while winning three championships. The Guaynabo Mets reached the finals of the BSN championships in 1990 and 1993 as well, but lost both times to the Ponce Lions. Due to economic difficulties the team was forced to retire from the league in the early 2000s.
Mario Morales went to college in the United States with the aim of playing in the American NBA (National Basketball Association). Unfortunately his dream was never realized as he had to return to Puerto Rico for personal reasons. He holds a Certified Public Accountant license as a result of his Puerto Rican education.
After Mario Morales retired from the game of basketball, the Guaynabo’s Mets Pavilion was re-named in his honor and a large painting of him in his Guaynabo Mets uniform hangs in the entrance of the Mario Morales Coliseum as a reminder of the time that he was one of the greatest basketball players in Puerto Rico.