For the past years, it is evident that fan attendance in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) live games has been dwindling. Fans can notice that from the start of this conference, the league cannot fill up even the lower box of the venues. Save for some out of town games, attendance in PBA games has been dismal most notably last weekend’s all-star game.
The mid-season (for this season it became the end-season) spectacle must serve as one of the season’s highlights providing an avenue for the players to showcase their individual talents and fans total entertainment. PBA Commissioner Atty. Chito Narvasa was even quoted last week asking where the fans are.
Some analysts have already proposed possible solutions for the improvement of the PBA’s attendance and lure the fans back just like the days of old at ULTRA or the old Araneta Coliseum where the atmosphere was just electric and overly exciting. For lifestylecent, we will present the problems in order for the PBA to craft possible solutions.
1. The PBA lacks a solid rivalry
Talk about Crispa-Toyota, San Miguel-Purefoods, Alaska-Ginebra, Ginebra-Purefoods, those are the only some of the legit rivalries the PBA had produced that even divided households the way Nora Aunor and Vilma Santos did. When these teams played, the venue was filled to the rafters and it was really divided. The atmosphere was intense and colorful because fans from both side would really cheer their hearts out for their team, heckle players and each other with some invictives. Players on the other hand played like there was no tomorrow, “basagan ng mukha” in the vernacular because bragging rights were at stake. We hardly have that kind in today’s PBA. Even the so-called “Manila Classico” has somehow lost its luster and had failed to attract fans to the venues. The PBA has lacked games worth waiting for, games which provide drama for the common folk waiting for some “action” and color brought about by a rivalry.
2. The PBA has failed to produce superstars who are “HEROES”
Gone are the days that players in the mold of Ramon Fernandez, Robert Jaworski, Alvin Patrimonio, Samboy Lim, Allan Caidic are closed to being worshipped by the fans. The aforementioned players are not only considered basketball idols but for a generation, they were heroes. But how did they become heores? Their heroism was not born in the PBA but by playing in the National Team. How many times did Allan Caidic despite being injured play for the national team? Countless, and that dedication for the national team led the fans to be more enamored to the players, adoration that spilled over when the players suit up for their different club teams. We can’t find these kind of players today because a simple bronchitis can be a reason for a player to withdraw from the national cause and after a while give it all for his club team.
3. The PBA has failed to really fully support the National team
Remember the FIBA Asia 2015 Olympic qualifying in China? Yes we placed second to China despite not sending the best possible team and we can all cry to high heavens that we were robbed by the Chinese, but let’s face it; the PBA has robbed itself of a chance of redemption. Is it possible that all the desired players of Coach Tab Baldwin be injured at the same time? The PBA as an institution could have looked into that and could have found some irregularities. Heck, even in the last iteration of Gilas, we did not send the best team possible because not all the best players were available because of “injuries”
4. The PBA games lack intensity
The games lack intensity because the players themselves lack intensity. The PBA has been reduced to a shoe modeling contest nowadays. As Jaworski would say, “Pagandahan nalang ng sapatos” No one wants to drive as Samboy Lim or Danny Seigle would do it during their glory days. Heck, the so-called Ginebra “never say die” style of playing basketball has been reduced to a hashtag.
The PBA has been a big part of the lives of Filipinos given that we are a basketball-crazy country. It has been saddening to see the current state of coliseum attendance that the PBA has in contrast watching classic games where fans were overflowing at the ULTRA. If the current trend will not change, sadly we can see the day that we see our favorite pro-league bid us adieu.