THE Barangay Ginebra-Star showdown on Sunday night pumped life back into the PBA and what has been its slumping performance at the box office.
The 16,460 screaming fans for the Ginebra-Star at the Smart Araneta Coliseum was the biggest draw so far in the season-ending Governors Cup, which had been playing to sparse crowds from the very beginning.
Ginebra won, 116-103.
The duel between two of the league’s most popular teams drew interest from people from all walks of life, including presidential Assistant Bong Go, a certified cage buff who was the special guest of the Commissioner’s Office during the main of game of the day’s doubleheader.
“Yes, I enjoy it very much. Parang championship,” said Go when he made a brief visit to the press room at halftime.
The attendance was the highest for the league since the two teams also met in the eliminations of the mid-season Commissioner’s Cup, which drew a total attendance of 16,126.
Actually, four of the five games with the highest attendance this season featured Ginebra-Star match-up, according to league head statistician Fidel Mangonon III.
The Kings-Hotshots game which enjoyed the biggest attendance this season came during the quarterfinal playoffs of the Philippine Cup, attracting a crowd of 21,808 at the Mall of Asia Arena on Christmas Day.
The elimination game between the two teams during the all-Filipino conference likewise drew a lot of interest with 16,576 people filling in the Big Dome.
The decisive Game 7 between Alaska and San Miguel during the Philippine Cup finals remains as the season’s biggest crowd drawer with 23,616.
Ironically, the two games that broke the 20,000 crowd barrier (Alaska-SMB and Ginebra-Star) were held at the MoA.