Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner Chito Narvasa said on Friday that the league is not happy with the low audience turnout on the first day of the All-Star weekend.
Only around 500 people watched the festivities live at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum, with the horde of empty seats providing a gloomy backdrop to the usually huge spectacle.
The Obstacle Challenge, Three-Point Shootout, and Slam Dunk Contest were all held on the first day. The main attraction, the Blitz game between a mix of former stars, active players, and D-League amateurs, even featured Filipino ring icon Manny Pacquiao.
“We’re quite disappointed right now but it didn’t matter to the players. They came out, they did their best,” Narvasa told reporters after the game.
“They just want to show them that they appreciate the fans and I’m hoping the fans appreciate them,” he added.
The commissioner said a low audience turnout, probably the lowest in league history is part of holding the All-Star break in the capital, where fans are already used to watching games scheduled on a regular basis.
“But that’s the way it is. When it’s in Manila talaga, I think there’s something we can learn from this also,” he said. “Baka nga siguro nagsawa na rin.”
Last year, the All-Star weekend was held in Puerto Princesa City in Palawan and was deemed a huge success in terms of gate attendance.
Narvasa said fans in the provinces are more eager to see their basketball heroes live, especially with lesser competition for their attention unlike in Manila.