ALASKA import Wendell McKines never expected he would be seeing a different facet of the metropolis when he left for the game on Tuesday afternoon.
Stranded like everybody else who were on the road when heavy rain struck around rush hour, McKines was forced to take the train after traffic went on a standstill along Edsa near Shaw Boulevard.
“It was crazy of course because I was the only black person in the train. It was jampacked,” recalled the wide-bodied Alaska reinforcement.
Good thing McKines was amply warned about the 'dangers' of being in a packed train in Manila during rush hour, the reason he embraced his bag tight and made sure his wallet was safe.
“I had to wear my backpack like this (demonstrating how he embraced his bag) and watch my wallet. And definitely, yeah, I heard it was the same train Manny Pacquiao rode," he laughed, having heard the boxing hero also took the train on his way to the ABS-CBN compound.
"But it was fun to experience that - the Filipino culture a little bit. I feel like I grew up here, or (felt) what it’s like to grow up here.”
McKines’ teammate JV Casio also had an unpleasant experience on his way to the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
After traveling for more than two hours from his home in Sucat, Paranaque, the Alaska starting guard left his car at La Salle Greenhills then tried to get a ride on the MRT, but to no avail.
“I tried everything pati MRT, hanggang sinundo ako ng motorcycle sa Meralco (in Ortigas). Na-traffic pa rin kahit naka-motor na, pero ganun talaga,” said a dejected Casio, who arrived at the Big Dome at the seven-minute mark of the second period.
Casio said the worst part of the day was seeing his team bow to the San Mig Coffee Mixers, 82-95. He made little impact on the game, scoring just five points.