Ateneo-La Salle game tickets sold out in 3 hrs
By Jasmine W. Payo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 02:05:00 09/16/2008

MANILA, Philippines—Sold out in just over three hours.

That was how fast tickets for Sunday’s UAAP championship showdown between Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University were gobbled up Monday, underscoring the intensity of their age-old rivalry and the rabid loyalty of the fans of the two elite schools.

TicketNet, the ticketing network of the Araneta Coliseum, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that it had to close the box office at 12:30 p.m. Monday after opening the ticket booths at 9 a.m.

“There were people who camped out overnight, there was already a line by 4 a.m.,” said a TicketNet representative.

The best-of three series starts at 4 p.m. on Sunday at the Big Dome.

Due to the great demand, TicketNet decided to sell just two tickets per individual. It sold mostly game passes to free-seating areas in Upper Box A (P220), Upper Box B (P95) and General Admission (P55).

Tickets for prime seats at the Patron (P350) and Lower Box (P300) areas were mostly reserved for Ateneo and La Salle.

First come, first served

“(Our) students will be sold a maximum of two tickets each,” said Ricky Palou, Ateneo’s representative to the UAAP board. “They must show their current IDs. It will be on a first-come, first-served basis. For the alumni, they can get their tickets from the alumni office.”

La Salle, though, took the cyber space route.

“Our current students can make reservations online [at the school’s official website],” said Bro. Bernie Oca, La Salle’s league representative. “Only one ticket will be sold per student. They can also track the number of tickets remaining on real time.”

“We’ve been getting calls here and abroad,” Oca said of the die-hards of the defending champion Archers. “But our first priority will be the alumni who have been with us even through the suspension (in 2006) and those who have been watching all our other games.”

Rights of a host

A standing rule in the league dictates that only teams that are scheduled to play on a certain day get allocation of the prime tickets, distributed down the line on a 50/50 basis.

The host, which in this year’s case is the University of the Philippines, has the right to get some tickets for itself provided that the five other schools which are not in the championship series get the same number of tickets as they do.

“Even as host, we were entitled to a very small allotment,” said UAAP secretary treasurer Herc Callanta of host University of the Philippines.

Killing at the tills

A paying crowd of 22,136 was recorded in the second Ateneo-La Salle game this season, where some reportedly paid scalpers as much as P7,000 for a patron ticket.

And this being the championship, it is expected that the Big Dome will be packed even tighter as venue management can still sell SRO tickets and fill the aisles with spectators.

The killing that this series will make at the tills also augurs well for the sports programs of all the member schools, which divide profit among themselves at the end of the season around March or April of the following year.

Last season, after adding ticket sales and television rights income from ABS-CBN worth P12.5 million, the UAAP, after deducting expenses for running the other events for the year, gave each of the eight member schools a profit of close to P300,000.

In that Sept. 6 game, the NBI Special Task Force Unit apprehended 15 scalpers within the vicinity of the Big Dome.

Bitter rivals

Aside from the schools, only the Araneta Coliseum, the league’s sponsors, ABS-CBN and the covering media will get ticket allocations.

It is the fourth title showdown for both schools since they bolted the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to join the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP).

Ateneo, which became a UAAP member in 1978, won in 1988 and 2002 while La Salle prevailed in 2001, five years after being reunited in the same league with its bitter rival.

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