Inside #WarriorsGround

Migs Bustos
Migs Bustos trekked to the Oracle Arena to catch the Dubs in action as a fan.

Last October 2017 when I went to the US, I had the privilege of covering a regular season Lakers game. A few days ago, I took a trip to San Francisco with my newly wedded wife, Michelle for the first stop of our honeymoon. But, because “ball is life”, I made sure we went on to watch a regular season Warriors game, not covering it as a journalist, but to enjoy the game as a basketball fan. I made sure too that I got to take a lot of photos for the memories, and for writing this blog post.

We arrived at the arena at 4:10 PM, three hours and 20 minutes before game time, thinking if we got there early, we'd get to go inside the Oracle and take our time to go around. It’s the Warriors versus the Bucks! Two of the best teams in the league early in the season! We were the first ones in the arena, hours before the game.

Also, a Giannis fan in attendance!

Apparently this is the away team's bus. I got to the spot late when I took this photo.
I missed seeing the Bucks entering the arena.

At 6:00 PM, doors finally opened. Tickets were all on our mobile phone and attendants just had to scan them.

Plus, the give away for that night was a limited edition Rick Barry pin for the first 10,000 fans who entered the coliseum. Not bad for being there extra early.

I got the feel and ambiance of the Araneta Coliseum when we first stepped inside because of its “circular nature.” When you roam around the inside of the arena, you can see countless merchandise stores, restaurants, promo booths, even a popular Filipino brand has its own kiosk. The atmosphere was very festive as you could see passionate fans eager to watch their Warriors play.

The fan in me didn’t pass up the opportunity to get clearance deals at the store!

An hour before tip off, we made sure we got to our seats. We were at Section 228, and big thanks to my cousin, Tamee for treating us with tickets as a honeymoon gift. You could tell the crowd was excited for the game to start. You also have to give a big hand to all of the performers who hyped the crowd up.

7:30. Tip-off. The Bucks started with Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe, Malcolm Brogdon, Brook Lopez, and “The Greek Freak”, Giannis Antetokounmpo, while the Dubs had Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant,  Jordan Bell, and Damian Jones. No Draymond Green for this game. I thought “no big deal,” but this small detail would be the big difference.

If you watched the game on S+A last Friday morning, you’d know the story of the game. The Bucks were doing everything right; everybody was clicking, and the Warriors were just keeping themselves at bay.  Despite the Warriors finding themselves in an early hole, the atmosphere inside Oracle was very optimistic. Fans were watching intently, cheering for every basket, and keeping the energy up in the hopes of making a big run.

Well, that didn’t happen. Steph wasn’t able to play for the rest of the latter part of the second half because of an injury. And by the start of the fourth quarter when Steve Kerr put in his second-third unit with only Klay Thompson inside, I thought that was already going to be a done deal, unless they pulled off a miraculous run. Green’s absence proved to be the difference as the Warriors lacked their trademark energy. In the end,  Milwaukee won by a mile, 134-111

This is the view from our section.

Though many fans went ahead and left the arena in the middle of the fourth quarter, a good number still stayed (including us!). No boos, no jeers, just awe and all out support for their team. Just like me who came all the way from the Philippines, it seemed like locals and loyal fans from the Bay Area share the same passion – not taking the experience for granted and enjoying their time to the fullest.

The experience doesn’t stop when the game ends. When we got down, team merchandise stores were still open and lines were still significantly long to get their last-second merch (including me!) before heading out.

By 10:30 PM, we headed out and took our last photos from outside the Oracle. As a basketball fan, nothing beats the experience breathing the same air as your idols and heroes.

Truly, it was a chance of a lifetime no money can buy that I will always cherish.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or ABS-CBN Sports.

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