On Saturday morning, the queue for tickets for Game Seven of the Commissioner’s Cup finals at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum reached up to the second floor, with fans lining up for the ultimate showdown between the B-MEG Llamados and the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters.
One fan, Paul Anthony Hernandez, said he has been in line since 6 a.m.
“Gusto kong magbigay ng suporta, saka gusto ko maging part ng game,” said Hernandez, a B-MEG fan.
Another B-MEG supporter, 80-year-old Tony Morales, stood in line and said he didn’t mind the wait.
“Gusto ko mapanood ng live, fan talaga ako ng B-MEG dati pa,” he said.
Fans came far and wide just to line up for tickets. Jane Teresa, a fan of Talk ‘N Text, came all the way from Angono, Rizal just for the chance to watch the games.
“OK lang kahit mahaba pila, para ‘to kay [Talk 'N Text import] Donnell [Harvey],” said Teresa.
A total of 20,534 paying fans were at the Big Dome for Game Six last Friday, an attendance that included celebrities such as Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach, former Chicago Bulls center Luc Longley, and comedy superstar Vic Sotto. The PBA expects that number to be breached in Game Seven with its do-or-die nature, apart from the fact that it will be played on a Sunday — the league’s strongest day in terms of attendance.
The Game Six crowd total was the PBA’s highest since Game Seven of the 2008 Fiesta Conference between Barangay Ginebra and Air 21, which drew 22,905 fans, a number that doubles as the coliseum’s largest recorded audience for a basketball game.
Frustration over tickets
But the demand for tickets have also sown frustration among fans who want to get better seats to the final game.
Chez Vianzon, a B-MEG fan, chronicled her experience online.
“Gusto namin at least Lower Box para ‘di na namin kelangan pumila ng maaga tomorrow for a good seat. Ang haba na ng pila kanina, 9:30 a.m. pa lang, mga pang-60 na kami sa pila. After lunch pa raw maglalabas ng ticket for PBA. Nag-antay kami dun, siksikan, sobrang init at nakaupo lang sa sahig. Pagdating ng 12 noon nagbukas na yung two tellers ready to sell tickets.
“Nakalagay sa screen ang sections and prices. Aware naman kami na may company tickets na nauna ng i-distribute. Pero umasa kaming makakuha ng best seats — Courtside/Patron — baka sakaling may available pa. Kasi ‘di pa soldout sa screen. Wala pang 15 minutes, after around 10 people na nabentahan na, biglang nagrefresh ang screen at sabay-sabay na naging SOLD-OUT lahat ng reserved seating! All at the same time! Nagalit mga tao. Upper A and B na lang ang natira bigla.
“So umalis na lang kami at ‘di na lang manonood ng live bukas. Sayang oras. Sayang effort. Sana palitan na ang sistema ng pagbebenta ng PBA tickets. Bakit ‘di na lang online ticketing just like concerts? Sana meron ding total available tickets sa screen sa ticket booth para alam mo simula pa lang lung may aasahan ka pang magandang seat. Sana ‘di rin pinapayagan ang hoarders. Kawawa mga taong walang connections na pwede sanang makakuha ng libreng ticket from companies.
“Masyado ng nananamantala ang mga scalpers dahil sa sistemang ito. Bebenta nila tickets ng more than triple ang presyo. Ewan ko kung sino at ano ang mali pero definitely the current system is unfair and badly needs a reform.”
Yap’s ticket woes
But fans aren’t the only ones feeling the pinch of the demand for tickets. It has become an issue as well for no less than B-MEG superstar guard James Yap.
“Ang dami ngang tumatawag sa akin eh, nanghihingi ng ticket. Mag-a-apologize na ako sa kanila, kasi hindi ko sila ma-a-accomodate,” he said.
Still, he was heartened by the support fans are showing for the league.
“Siguro nakikita nila, exciting yung mga games, kasi yung dalawang team, talagang patayan na,” said the two-time Most Valuable Player.
“Sobrang thankful lang ako sa suporta nilang lahat.”
For those who can’t get tickets, the game will be aired live on AKTV starting at 5 p.m.
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