UAAP secretary-treasurer Junel Baculi has seen the high demand for tickets during the Ateneo-La Salle basketball face-offs as well as the Ateneo-University of Santo Tomas finale last season, but he swears he has not seen anything like this one.
“Grabe ang demand talaga, hindi nga kami magkanda-ugaga,” said Baculi, also the sports director of UAAP Season 75 host National University.
On the eve of Game One of the UAAP women's volleyball finals series between arch-rivals De La Salle and Ateneo at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, tickets have become so in demand that not a few people think they've become harder to get than tickets to basketball games between the two schools.
Even the coach of Ateneo Lady Eagles, Roger Gorayeb, bared that his usual four complimentary tickets have yet to reach him.
“Wala pa rin hanggang ngayon, gusto ko ngang magdagdag pero wala na akong mahanap,” said Gorayeb.
“Mas mahirap bumili ng ticket ngayon kaysa sa men’s basketball,” added the multi-titled collegiate coach. “Sa basketball kasi, dalawang teams lang ang naglalaban. Dito apat."
Aside from the women’s finals showdown, alumni and supporters of Far Eastern University and National University have joined the scrum for tickets as their men’s teams slug it out for the title.
Earlier reports said tickets to the two games will be sold separately, but it was not certain if the procedure had been followed.
Even some ticket reservations booked by alumni supporters through their schools have reportedly been cancelled, forcing some fans to source tickets through the black market where prices have hit the roof.
One tout who sold his tickets through a popular buy-and-sell website told Spin.ph it was easy to find buyers for patron seats originally priced at P300 and which he sold for P1,700. From the 20 he had in his hands, only six remain, he said on Friday morning.
At posting time, longtime volleyball information system manager Christopher Anore of TMX Sports was still trying to buy tickets for his family and friends.
“Yung mga pina-reserve ko na lower seats, nabawasan pa kasi ikinalat para hindi ma-monopolize. Yung ibang lower box (tickets) ko, pinalitan ng Upper B,” said Anore, shaking his head.
A crowd of 19,638 fans turned out to watch the final elimination-round match between the Lady Spikers and the Lady Eagles last month at the Mall of Asia Arena - easily the biggest turnout to a volleyball game in the country's history.
Game Two will be played at the same arena in Pasay City on Wednesday.
ABS-CBN Sports program director Abet Ramos claimed the crowd could also be one of the biggest to watch a volleyball game in the world.
“It was a phenomenon for us to witness inside the MOA arena, it broke all records for volleyball, not just for the Philippines but also for the world. I think that was one of the biggest, if not the biggest crowd for volleyball," Ramos said.