Alab Pilipinas’ no-entrance-fee home games delight kids
Ceej Tantengco on Feb 03, 2017 01:08 PM
“Taga-diyan lang nakatira si Parks, pero first time ko siya makitang maglaro kaya masaya." -- Miko Mangunay, 14.
Alab Pilipinas may have won all but one of their home games so far, but the real winner every time they play a game in the Philippines are the kids who get to watch for free.
Unlike the games abroad, which on average sell for the equivalent of P600, Alab Pilipinas’ management bought out the entire venue and opened it to the public. During their first game in Bulacan, the doors to the gym had been closed after reaching full capacity. Fans continued to push the doors until they broke. In their recent trip to Parañaque’s Olivares gym, the team was treated to fans screaming for every warm-up dunk. When the buzzer ended, the audience jumped the barrier and stormed the court.
The kids are always the loudest.
“First time ko makanood ng ganito,” admits 14-year-old Raymart Agustin. “Favorite ko si Ray Parks kasi magaling siya mag-three points!” For context, this was at their game against Saigon Heat last week, where Parks went 8-for-8 from long distance.
With Agustin were several other teenage boys who live in the area: they didn’t have money to buy Philippine flags like others in the audience, but they were happy to show their support in other ways: “Sisigaw na lang kami palagi!” yelled Mark Cerrero.
“Taga-diyan lang nakatira si Parks, pero first time ko siya makitang maglaro kaya masaya,” said 14-year-old Miko Mangunay. His friend Gerald Estrella, also 14, began chanting: “Alab! Alab! Alab!”
These games are held in smaller municipal and provincial gyms, bringing the action to those who may not have the means or time to watch live games in Metro Manila’s big arenas.
For the kids especially, Alab Pilipinas feels like their team—not just because they bear the name of the country, but because Alab Pilipinas is the team that came to them.
Alab Pilipinas faces off against Saigon Heat in Davao City this February 5. Catch the live broadcast on S+A and the livestream at 8:00pm.