The PBA opened its new season amidst thousands of empty seats. This however is not a cause for concern according to a certain league official who refused to be named.
In an interview with SPIN.ph, the said official claimed that it was only a temporary setback for the league as the timing of the opening came at a point wherein the fans were still at a loss with regards to the real date of the opening, or if it will even push through given the current stalemate between the two groups of Governors.
Teams from the MVP stable (TNT, NLEX and Meralco) along with Phoenix, Rain or Shine, Alaska and Blackwater were against the extension of Chito Narvasa’s term as commissioner. The opposing side consists of the SMC group (Brgy. Ginebra, San Miguel and Magnolia) along with GlobalPort and KIA.
“Ang daming questions prior to the opening: Matutuloy nga ba? Meron nga bang dalawang opening for the two rival groups? ‘Yan ang umiikot na tsismis prior to the opening so hindi alam ng tao kung alin ang totoo,” said the official.
League insiders claimed that ticket sales during opening day were around 5,600 but a closer look at the photos of the almost empty coliseum suggests it was much lower than that.
To make it look good on television, the venue remained dark for the duration of the event as the production crew made use of spotlights to keep the focus on center stage and on the parading teams. A ‘cheering crowd’ sound effect was utilized during the entrance of members of the board as well as during the parade of teams to make it appear that the people at the venue were cheering and clapping to welcome and acknowledge them.
Despite the opening ceremony’s evident lack of appeal to PBA fans, the official added that the board is still upbeat for the new season and expects a much larger crowd for the coming games, especially during Christmas Day as the undisputed most popular team in the league and newly crowned 2017 Governors’ Cup champions Brgy. Ginebra San Miguel take on Manila Clasico rival Magnolia Hotshots at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue Bulacan.
Serving as appetizer for the December 25 game is the match between the GlobalPort Batang Pier and the NLEX Road Warriors.