Among players, Talk ‘N Text star guard Jimmy Alapag was the earliest to arrive for the first ever PBA game at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
B-MEG import Marqus Blakely, meanwhile, was the first to warm up on the court and take shots at the new venue.
For the two players, playing in state-of-the-art venue is significant.
“Coach Tim (Cone) told me that we can tell this story to our grand kids, so I came here early, do the warm ups, because I’m also excited to play in this new gym,” the hardworking B-Meg import told InterAKTV in an exclusive interview.
Blakely said that if the opportunity presents itself, he’d like to be the first player to make a basket at the venue, which is hosting its first live televised basketball event with the B-MEG-Talk ‘N Text showdown.
“That would be great,” he said.
Blakely said the MOA Arena is one of the finest he has ever seen.
“This is quite similar to the arenas in the NBA, except that it’s smaller, but it’s equally nice. Plus the fact that it’s more convenient to the players because you have a mall nearby,” he said.
For Alapag, coming in early to get up shot has always been his normal routine.
“I always come to the venue early,” said the league’s reigning Most Valuable Player. “Especially when you’re playing at a venue that is something new to us. It gives you time to get the feel of the court.
“But playing here would be something significant for both teams as we will be the first ones to play in an official PBA game here. Hope we could win so as to make our first stint here more significant.”
» Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio thrilled with acquisition of Jared Dillinger, Don Allado
» POLL | Who won the three-way trade among Barako Bull, Meralco, and Talk ‘N Text?
» PBA approves trade: Dillinger, Allado to Meralco, Buenafe to Barako Bull, Anthony to Talk ‘N Text