INCHEON, Korea—Tickets to Gilas Pilipinas games in the 17th Asian Games were selling like hotcakes, organizers were said to have ran out of seats to sell in their first few games.
That was until the Nationals lost to the host Koreans on Saturday that shut out their chances of clinching a medal in basketball, the acknowledged national sport in the Philippines.
The tickets made available to the Philippine delegation secretariat were also high-demand.
Aside from those allocated to team officials and embassy personnel, athletes were also provided with tickets to show support to players of Gilas Pilipinas, the most recognizable faces in the 150-athlete delegation.
Even the rugby team, comprised of Filipino-Australians admitted to being fans of Gilas. The Volcanoes even delayed their practice to watch Gilas play against Qatar on Friday.
The secretariat had run out of tickets and was only able to provide the Volcanoes with the last seven tickets available.
But the resourceful Volcanoes manage to scrounge for extra tickets by using their charm with the Korean volunteers, all players were present in Gilas’ next two matches.
The usual busy activities at the Philippine headquarters, however, suddenly fell silent the morning after Gilas Pilipinas defeated Kazakhstan, 65-67, on Sunday.
That was a meaningless triumph for Gilas. They needed to beat the Kazakhs by more than 10 points to be able to hang on in their bid to make it to the medal matches.
The Kazakhs celebrating their loss to the Filipinos was an ironic scene. But the Kazakhs ensured it were them gaining the chance to advance into the next round.
Gilas best possible finish here would be fifth.
Even if they wanted to show support to Gilas, the Volcanoes were no longer able to skip practice to show support to their newfound brothers.
The Volcanoes are set to play tomorrow against China and then against Hong Kong.
And so, the Gilas tickets just lay there.
Maybe until Filipino sports fans discover who the Volcanoes are.