EIGHTY percent of the tickets for the opening games of the PBA’s 40th season have been sold less than a week before tipoff.
PBA media bureau chief Willie Marcial bared to Spin.ph that close to 40,000 of the total 55,000 seats for the event at Philippine Arena in Bulacan have already been sold.
“Nagulat nga kami sa bentahan. Paubos na agad. May isang linggo pa ha,” said Marcial.
“Actually yung present sales, yung ticket na nabebenta ngayon… yun lang talaga ang conservative forecast namin sa opening day crowd. Pero it really surpassed our expectations and we are very happy,” Marcial added.
League officials believe the long PBA break due to Gilas Pilipinas’ stint in the Fiba World Cup and Asian Games helped fuel the excitement.
“Matagal kasi tayo talaga nag break. Imagine two-and-half months na walang PBA so nasabik talaga ang publiko,” said Marcial.
Aside from fans’ eagerness to see expansion teams Blackwater Elite and Kia Sorento clash in the curtain raiser and Barangay Ginebra battle Talk ’N Text in the main game, the PBA believes basketball fans are also curious about the huge Philippine Arena.
PBA commissioner Chito Salud is optimistic that they can fill the world’s biggest domed arena on Sunday.
“This is a huge number by any measure that can only become bigger as we get closer to opening day. But more than the numbers, we in the PBA feel privileged to have this opportunity to give our fans a treat, fans whose unwavering support have brought PBA to where it is today,” Salud said.
“Maraming dapat pasalamatan pag dating sa istoryang PBA at ang nasa katuktukan nito ay ang ating mga fans,” he added.
PBA chairman of the board Patrick Gregorio already calls it a milestone for the league.
“This is history in the making. PBA@40 at the world class Philippine Arena. Can’t wait ’til October 19,” said Gregorio.
Marcial bared that the league is now set review other possible playdates that can be scheduled at the Philippine Arena.
“Isa na talaga ang playoffs sa mga titignan natin na gawin sa Philippine Arena,” he said.
A free shuttle service will be provided thru Kia’s Philippine company Columbian Autocar Corporation.
[See Kia Motors offers 200 buses to shuttle fans to Philippine Arena for free for PBA opening]
“Nag-usap na ang Kia at ang Jam Liner. Hinihintay na lang namin ang LTFRB kasi sila ang magde-designate kung saan ang mga pick-up at delivery points (ng mga buses),” said Marcial.
“Pero ni-request talaga namin na bawat syudad sa Metro Manila magkaroon ng pick up points kasi nararamdaman namin ang dilemma ng mga fans,” he said.
Meanwhile, management of the Iglesia ni Cristo-owned Philippine Arena has assured ample parking for fans with private vehicles.
NLEX president Rodrigo Franco has also guaranteed a smooth flow of traffic on opening day, especially at the northbound lane of the world class tollway.
“Well-coordinated na po namin yan sa mga marshalls ng tollways natin. That is also an assurance to our motorists who will pass by NLEX on October 19,” said the soft spoken Franco.