BOCAUE — Lost in the shuffle of Ginebra’s championship celebration was the near chaos that ensued afterwards.
After the Gin Kings received the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup trophy and LA Tenorio was awarded the PBA Press Corps – Cignal Finals MVP, the back-to-back champions faced another problem: the throngs of fans who stormed to the court.
A record 54,086 fans came to the massive Philippine Arena on Friday, and a handful of giddy fans tried to get as close to their basketball idols, eager to get their selfies and photo-ops, to the extent of some people pushing each other off and a select few almost engaging in a fist fight.
It was a scary sight for the players, who celebrated the awarding ceremonies with their loved ones, as they tried to protect their relatives, especially the children, from getting trampled by the wave of people who converged on the court.
The same was the case for the PBA staff, the mediamen, and the photographers who were in the middle of it all as everyone tried to get themselves back to the dugout area fearing for safety.
The post-game security was so disorderly that Ginebra players, coaches, and staff, together with their loved ones, had to walk over the LED board at the sidelines and then to the table of officials just to go back to the dugout area.
That raises the question if there was indeed a planned crowd control as the bouncers, together with their ropes that surrounded the awarding area which was supposed to cordon off the masses from the players, seemingly was useless as fans pushed their way to the center of the court.
Of course, no security detail is perfect, but the near-stampede which ensued necessitates further planning, and maybe more security, to protect the players from events like these.
Luckily, no one got hurt from the turn of events as the Gin Kings got a chance to celebrate their back-to-back title conquest in the season-ending conference without any worries.
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