FOR an opener that had to be moved three days from its original date, the PBA considers its kickoff ceremonies for the 41st season on Wednesday night already a mild success.
In a rare moment, the league ushered its new season on midweek – instead of the traditional Sunday playdate – with a crowd estimated to be 6,000 to 7,000 strong showing up at the Mall of Asia Arena.
League media bureau chief Willie Marcial said the modest turnout was somehow expected since the opening day initially set on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum had to be moved after Typhoon Lando battered the country over the weekend.
Commissioner Chito Narvasa cited the ‘safety of our people is our priority’ as the main reason why the league was forced to postpone for opening rites for the first time in league history.
“Maganda na ‘yung crowd considering the postponement of the opening day,” said Marcial while the lone game between Rain or Shine and Star was ongoing.
Marcial said the league would have enjoyed a sellout had the Sunday rites pushed through as scheduled. Marcial made the assessment based on the amount of tickets to be refunded to paying fans.
“Kung natuloy yung linggo, puno dapat tayo. Malaki kasi yung ire-refund na mga tickets sa fans,” said the league official, who refused to reveal the exact amount the league will have to refund.