How much must fans be involved in a game?
In a regional basketball league like the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) where teams are identified with their respective communities, fan intensity could be as rabid as it can get.
A video post on social media circulated after Tuesday’s Game 3 where San Juan Knights thwarted Davao Occidental 67-62 to take a 2-1 lead in the Best-of-Five championship series. It showed young fans flashing dirty fingers on camera and a caption that says bottles were hurled at the visiting side. That’s just too much disrespect.
Fan behavior is understandable. In the heat of the game, the atmosphere can be very emotional. But there are some limits too.
The beauty in a regional basketball concept should not be clouded by fanaticism. Rather, it must be the avenue where home teams showcase the city, province or town it represents. Home teams must use this opportunity to promote not only sports tourism but also promote the cultural diversity and character of its people.
Pinoy hospitality should not be lost on sports fans even in the midst of intense rivalry and competition.
Zealotry must ultimately give way to neighbourliness. This is the concept of regionalism in sports.
San Juan can wrap up the title on Monday and that’s their chance to show their guests a different treatment. If they lose and go to Game 5 in Davao and in here, there will be something to learn from the warmth of Dabawenyos.