WHILE streakers have made a nuisance of themselves in sports events—particularly in the UK and US—the Philippines has been free of them. That is until last Friday, May 11, in Game 5 of the PBA finals between Magnolia and San Miguel when a man dressed as Spiderman ran into the court and interrupted play with three minutes left in the game.
He had a placard, which thankfully, wasn’t shown but as he was brandishing it, June Mar Fajardo, who was seconds away from a fastbreak, ran into him and was left dazed by a hit in his jaw. While slow to react at first, security personnel in the games eventually got the streaker and he was escorted out.
Though I saw a couple of similar incidents in football, they weren’t as disruptive as the Spiderman stunt. Back in 2005, a brave soul up in the rafters shouted, “Patalsikin si Gloria!” while the Philippine national anthem was being played during the football match in the Southeast Asian Games in Bacolod. PGMA was in the audience and I was just 10 meters away from the guy. The Presidential Security Group eventually got to him before the national anthem was finished but his stunt already got the desired result: attention.
Six years later, there was another interruption though it didn’t fall in the political strategy. Rather, this fell under the “Hold my beer” memes you see online. A friend, after having a few too many pre-match, ran into the field moments before the Philippines vs. Mongolia match. It was the first home game since the Hanoi Miracle and Panaad was packed. Unlike Spiderman who was jeered, the fans cheered the guy who would soon earn the nickname the Blue-Haired Fanatic. He didn’t hurt anyone—except for the egos of the cops assigned in the venue—so the crowd was behind him.
I think it helped him, too, that it happened before the game and the people in the venue thought he was part of the program. I sure did.
But last Friday, during the heat of the PBA finals, it was obvious that Spidey wasn’t part of the program and everyone in the venue had the same thoughts: “Who the (Digong’s fave word) is this guy? Why are they too slow to get him?” That he hit Philippine basketball’s gentle giant and most beloved player in June Mar also added to the ire.
That guy will forever change how the PBA manages the crowd and future interaction between players and fans will forever be restricted. There are a lot of security personnel in the games but those burly guys in yellow got embarrassed in Game 5. The cops assigned to the venue—just like almost all other cops I’ve seen in basketball games—got caught on their ass. Busy watching the game, they failed to do their jobs.
In international football matches—both club and country—that I see on TV, the security personnel have their backs on the game. So I guess, future PBA matches will see the same and the cops won’t be getting the best seats in the house at courtside.
Spiderman wanted to spread a message of love but there won’t be any “I love you 3,000” messages for him. I hope PBA officials throw the book at him—and while they’re at it, Thor’s hammer—so wannabe Spideys will think twice.