SAN Miguel Beer and Alaska may not be among the three most popular teams as per a poll commissioned by the PBA, but the demand for tickets for Game Seven on Wednesday belied that.
The PBA Commissioner's Office has announced that tickets for the winner-take-all game of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals are already sold out, and the Smart Araneta Coliseum has started releasing SRO (standing room only) tickets as early as Tuesday afternoon.
PBA media bureau chief Willie Marcial admitted they have been besieged with requests for tickets from celebrities, politicians and friends for the final chapter of what had been a fiercely fought and bruising - and sometimes bloody - best-of-seven series.
"Ang dami ko pa ngang backlog. Marami pang umoorder kaso wala na kaming mailabas," said Marcial. "Hindi ko na nga alam gagawin ko at isasagot ko everytime nagri-ring telepono ko. Ubos talaga."
National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief General Carmelo Valmoria told Spin.ph they have laid down measures to deal with the anticipated large crowd in and around the Big Dome on Wednesday.
Valmoria said he has deployed uniformed and non-uniformed police personnel to provide security for the thousands of spectators and go after scalpers who are expected to take advantage of the high demand for tickets.
"May mga ipinapakalat tayo na pulis dun. S.O.P. (standard operating procedure) po natin 'yun," said Valmoria. "So kung may makita po tayo na nagbebenta ng ticket na higit na mahal sa orihinal na presyo nito, agad pong dadamputin ng ating kapulisan 'yun."
Valmoria has advised fans to report the presence of scalpers in the area.
"Hindi po natin ina-allow ang ganun. Pagsasamantala po 'yun," he added.
This early, Marcial said he expects the crowd at the historic arena in Quezon City to be no less than 18,000 come game time.
"Yun ang conservative expectation ko. Pero for sure puwede pang mas tumaas dun," he said.
The PBA record at the Big Come stands at 24,883 which was set during Game Seven of the Ginebra-San Mig Coffee (now Purefoods) semifinal series in the 2014 Commissioner's Cup.
Incidentally, the biggest crowd to watch a PBA game was set during the opening of the current season where 52,612 spectators paid to watch at the Philippine Arena.
Even Alaska assistant coach Louie Alas said he has been hounded by a lot of ticket requests, which he failed to accomodate since Game Six.
"Nuong isang araw pa ko nagpapa-order kay coach Franco (Atienza), kaso pati siya wala nang makuha," said Alas.
But instead of sulking in the development, Alas took pride in how the Aces' series versus San Miguel has generated huge interest from fans.
"Nakakatuwa nga eh. Kasi dati parang sinasabi nila lalangawin ang finals namin. Pero tignan mo ngayon. Pahirapan ang ticket," he said smiling.
Araneta Coliseum officials bared that only 5,000 SRO tickets can be released and with the current demand, supply might immediately run out.