I was fortunate enough to be among the 19,829 who was able to catch the game between Gilas Pilipinas versus the basketball team of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia live—and boy, am I glad to have been a part of it!
If you watched the match at home, here’s a list of things you (probably) missed!
#1 Jordan Clarkson’s ‘presence’
Okay. I get it. JC still made you move left to right and melted your face as he finished his drives to the basket or splashed his ridiculous long balls all while you were watching in the comfort of your own home. I’ve been there! Heck, we’ve all been there!
But there’s something about seeing JC do his thing in a Gilas jersey in the flesh! Don’t forget that this is also his debut home game so you can tell from his energy and movements that he wanted to leave quite an impression on the home crowd—and he did just that!
Just in case you wanna watch JC’s highlights again, you may view them here.
#2 Crowd countdown
In true ligang-barangay fashion, Pinoy fans wanted to be a part of the action in whatever way they can. On several occasions the crowd went with one of the oldest plays in the book by hijacking the shot clock by loudly counting down in unison:
“7, 6, 5, 4…”
Well, what’s wrong with that? You might ask. They were shaving off a good 2 or 3 seconds from the actual time on the clock which sometimes resulted in the Saudis taking rushed shots thinking that the clock was about to expire. It didn’t always work, but when it did, you’d hear scattered playful laughter from the crowd, pleased with what they accomplished.
#3 Anotha’ One
As the game was heading to a close towards the end of the 4th quarter, with the Gilas up big, the fans became more relaxed and started to josh around with the visitors. Quick to be the crowd favorite was Saudi Arabia player # 15 Nassir Abo Jalas.
He played a decent game but that’s not what endeared him to the crowd. It was his big boy vibe and the fact that he bulldozed some of our players on several possessions which drew reactions from the crowd. His animated facial expressions and arm-flailing only made it more entertaining.
To add to that, there was someone from the crowd who pointed out that he resembled American Hip-hop personality DJ Khaled which also drew scattered laughter from the packed arena.
#4 High-fiving with strangers!
While you may still have seen, felt, or heard the first 3 items we listed down while watching at home, this last one you can only definitely get when you’re at the arena!
Bringing people together is one of sports’ great powers. Whether you’re watching with family, friends, or even strangers, there is an unexplainable bond that is created right in the moment. It’s part of what makes the games even more beautiful and honestly makes up for a big part of what makes people fall in love with them!
So whenever you can, catch a game live!