Monday, July 18, 2011

Fair Play: A great weekend for sports fans

THE recent surge of the Philippine national team has put the football vs. basketball debate – done almost exclusively during drinking sessions between sports buddies before – in a whole new level.

These days, the debate is getting so intense moderators in fan pages are taking it upon themselves to stop people from bashing other sports as it is counterproductive.

Passionate fans who see a slight in some posts or articles sometimes nitpick and belittle the other sport’s achievements, and sometimes, openly advocate for its demise.

Though, I admit, I’ve added a few points here and there, I’ve since shut up and avoided the debate. It was fun talking about it during the days when football was stuck in the backburner, but now?

There’s no point.

Ronnie Nathanielsz also didn’t help things by highlighting the different ratings, too, of the PBA and the Azkal games—which coincidentally, are aired by his previous and current employers.

It’s wrong and doesn’t do much good except drive a wedge between football and basketball fans.

If you limit basketball games to five a year, then every game will be packed, every telecast a hit—just like the Azkals matches.

The Azkals, like Manny Pacquiao, have captured the casual fans and like Bob Arum says—they are the swing vote, the ones who will make or break a telecast.

Basketball may, for some, be limited to the diehard fans now but I don’t think it means it is on its deathbed. The casual fan will come rooting, once Smart Gilas takes on the Asian heavies or when their favorite teams make the finals.

There is no need for us to limit ourselves to one sport to cheer, support and follow. There is no need to tell major backers to finance only one sport.

Football and basketball can co-exist.

And this weekend, I hope, will be a chance for Pinoys to see that yes, we can sport one without ignoring the other.

This weekend will be like no other and I don’t think there’s going to be another one like this.

On Saturday evening, the NBA All-Stars, led by Kobe Bryant and Derrick Rose, will be in town, to face the PBA All-Stars and at midnight, it will be the Azkals against Kuwait for the first leg of the Fifa qualifiers and on Sunday evening, it will be Smart Gilas against the NBA stars.

We’ve had a few NBA players who came over but most were retired, or past their prime.

This is the first time that we are going to see stars at their peak play on local soil. And Rose and Bryant in one team? That’s a first since they play opposite each other in All-Star games.

And the Azkal match in the second round of the Fifa World Cup qualifiers is a first, too.

Seats for the basketball games—some selling at P5,000-- will be the most coveted and I’m sure basketball fans, like football fans, will be wishing for a bigger venue.

Seats for the Azkals’ home game—some selling at P3,000—are mostly gone. In fact, one fan said that after just five minutes after the start of the selling period, the P200 and P300 were sold out (Scalpers? Tsk, tsk). Some folks are posting online that only the P2,000 seats are left. That’s how great the demand is.

With the Azkal home game and the two basketball games against the NBA stars a sellout, there’s no doubt, right?

Football fans will follow their game, so will basketball fans.

Fans of both—those who have the money to—will break their bank following both, while the rest can follow all matches on TV.

All Pinoy sports fans are passionate, and it is unfortunate that some are targeting each other. I believe this weekend is a reminder for us that we can cheer as one.

Let’s direct our enmity towards the other team, when the national team is playing.

This weekend is the sports gods’ way of reminding us that there’s no need to fight and it’s better to follow more than one sport.


frank said...

agrre with your points completely - bball and football can co exist!

Janeth said...

So, Blake Griffin will not be coming with Derrick Rose?

Bogs said...

who knows Kobe Bryant may even recognize the Philippine Azkals since he is also a football fan himself.

Mike Limpag said...

Bogs, musta na? Tanaw ka sa duwa?

Yap, Kobe, having grown up in Italy, is a huge fan.