WITH the high demand for tickets to Ginebra-Star Hotshots games, PBA media bureau chief Willie Marcial bared the league is now looking to stage the two teams' coming games at the Philippine Arena.
Since the season opener in October drew more than 53,000 fans to what is reputedly the world's biggest domed arena, the PBA has yet to stage another game at the 54,000-capacity venue in Bocaue, Bulacan.
Marcial said the league already plans to tap the Philippine Arena in the event Ginebra and Star meet in the playoffs, but that plan may be fast-tracked with the spike in interest in the two rivals' matches.
“Actually, napag-aralan na namin 'yun, na kung maghaharap sa playoffs ang Ginebra at Purefoods (Star), pwedeng sa Philippine Arena gawin yung games Five, Six o Seven,” said Marcial.
“Pero dahil nga sa matindi ang demand ng ticket sa mga laro nila everytime maglalaban sila, siguro isa na nga sa pinag-aaralan ng liga ngayon is the Philippine Arena kahit siguro elimination game lang,” he added.
Since the rivalry became more intense in recent years, the PBA has made it a point to stage Ginebra- Star games at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, the second biggest in the country with a maximum capacity of 24,000.
But even the Big Dome is nearly not enough to accommodate the demand.
For Sunday's game alone, Marcial bared tickets for the VIP to the Patron to the Lower box and Upper Box A seats have long been sold out that the league is now releasing SRO (standing room only) tickets.
“Ubos na lahat eh. Upper B na lang ang hinihintay namin maubos ngayon pero tingin ko pwedeng maubos na rin 'yun mamaya. Kaya naka-ready na rin ang mga standing room only tickets,” he said.
“Ubos na talaga ang dami pang nanghihingi. Malakas talaga ang dalawang teams na yan,” Marcial said.
Even representatives of the teams have trouble securing tickets for their fans, friends and family members
“Wala na rin kami maibigay ang dami pa nanghihingi. Ganito ang scenario namin everytime Ginebra ang kalaban ng team,” said Jojo Peralta, Star’s longtime liaison officer.
Even Star’s team marketing officer Reena del Mundo claimed demand for tickets increase ten folds during the Hotshots' matches against Ginebra.
“Mas madami nagtatanong kung saan makakabili. Syempre, Ginebra versus Purefoods yan eh. Sabi nga nila heritage rivalry yan eh. It goes down to the family. Minana pa ng ilang batang fans namin sa parents nila ang paghanga,” said del Mundo.
“Kasi since the late 80’s may history na talaga ang Ginebra at Purefoods,” she added.
Ginebra’s liaison officer Crispin Tiamson also shook his head when asked about tickets.
“Wala na kaming ticket. Ubos na lahat. May mga hawak man ako, merun ng mga may-ari nito,” said Tiamson of the Ginebra ticket allotment he is set to distribute to VIP guests at the red gate before the game.
“Akalain mong may iba nga na nanghihingi na sa amin ng Ginebra-Purefoods tickets, di pa nagsisimula ang conference. Eh paano gagawin namin, di pa kami pwede mag-order nun at limitado lang rin dahil double header, hahatiin pa sa frst game teams yun,” he said laughing.
GlobalPort alternate governor Erick Arejola, whose team battles Barako Bull in the curtain raiser, also claimed to be affected by the demands of the Ginera-Star tickets.
“Wala na ko ticket. Ubos na. (laughed) Minsan nga inaasar ko mga nanghihingi, sinasabihan ko na, 'Humihingi kayo sa akin pero alam ko naman na iba talaga pakay niyo sa panonood,” said Arejola chuckling.