EXPECT no ‘Merry Christmas’ greetings or any Christmas jingles to be played when the PBA Philippine Cup brings its act to the world’s largest indoor arena on December 25.
The restrictions are part of the salient points agreed upon by league officials with the religious group Iglesia ni Cristo (INC), which owns the 55,000-seater Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
The INC doesn’t celebrate Christmases.
“The PBA is aware of it and respects very much the belief of our brothers at INC,” said league media bureau chief Willie Marcial.
While the directive may somehow lessen the spirit of holiday festivities, the league remains very positive about holding a blockbuster doubleheader highlighted by the game featuring longtime rivals Barangay Ginebra and Star at 5:15 p.m.
INC members are actually planning to avail of most of the seats in the general admission section of the arena, while ticket inquiries have been flooding the league office since news of the December 25 game at the Bulacan stadium broke out.
The curtain raiser features Blackwater taking on Mahindra at 3 p.m.
The arena, which sits on a 140-hectare tourism enterprise zone, holds the biggest single crowd ever to have watched the PBA with 52,612 fans in attendance for the opening of the league’s 40th season two years ago.
The opening day special pitted Barangay Ginebra against TNT Katropa in the featured match, and Mahindra-Blackwater in the first game.
The crowd initially was the biggest in the young history of the venue, only to be topped the following year by Eat Bulaga’s popular kalyeserye ‘AlDub: Sa Tamang Panahon,’ which drew a capacity of 55,000.
Marcial added the league will be providing service buses for ticket holders going to the arena. Initial possible strategic waiting areas are Cubao, Quezon City in and Gil Puyat in Makati.