FOR more than a year, the Makati Super Crunch played at their surrogate home court — the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City — each time they hosted an MPBL game.
After a long wait, the Super Crunch finally got the opportunity of playing right in front of their local folks as the newly-refurbished Makati Coliseum staged an MPBL game for the first time in league history Tuesday.
As expected, it was like a nostalgic night for the Super Crunch, whose key members had their opportunities playing at this historic venue which served as the site of the Philippine Basketball League and the UAAP.
Head coach Cholo Villanueva, who played for two teams in the PBL, recalled the memories playing at the venue.
“I played for ICTSI-La Salle and also for Toyota Otis,” Villanueva told FOX Sports Philippines. “This is very nostalgic. I remember even the UAAP games were played here before. It’s a big improvement from the last time I saw it. It’s state-of-the-art now.”
Coming off an exhausting triple-overtime victory over a crack Zamboanga-Family’s Brand Sardines team, the Super Crunch played with the same energy against the Muntinlupa Cagers on their way to preserving an 81-68 victory Monday night.
For Villanueva, the home crowd which came out in full force clad in white brought in the added energy boost needed by the Super Crunch in notching their eighth straight win.
Makati remains as the hottest team in the MPBL Lakan Season and its latest win improved its standings to 18-3, securing the solo second spot of the northern division of this tournament put up by Senator Manny Pacquiao with PBA legend and former MVP Kenneth Duremdes serving as commissioner.
“We felt the energy of the crowd. The Makatizens were all out and we used that energy to keep us fresh playing defense the whole game,” said Villanueva. “It’s a very big thing playing in your home floor. The Makatizens waited for so long, to cheer for us.”
“Our triple overtime game against Zamboanga was energy-zapping, it came all the way from Antipolo. But our energy tonight was still there because of our crowd and players coming off the bench. They also provided the energy and relentlessness on defense.”
Team owner Paolo Orbeta played college ball at College of St. Benilde, but he also experienced playing at the Makati Coliseum in the PBL.
“Rookie Year ko sa PBL noon, Welcoat. Ganito rin yung atmosphere, ganito rin yung crowd. Ang pagkakaiba lang, yung crowd talagang coming from Makati,” Orbeta said. “Iba yung chini-cheer ka ng mga tao, nagchi-cheer sila sa home team mo. Mas ibang feeling yun.”
Orbeta was amazed at how the Makatizens were engaged to the Super Crunch.
“Doon mo makikita gaano sila ka-engaged. Pumunta sila dito, nagsuot sila ng puti, all sorts of people, may mga naka-kotse, naka-motor, may nag-commute, may mga naglalakad lang. Hopefully, yung ganitong klaseng culture ng fan bases talagang maalagaan natin. Kasi first time na magkaroon ng Makati team sa MPBL,” added Orbeta.
MPBL commissioner Kenneth Duremdes was impressed by the new look Makati Coliseum and believes that this venue set a standard among the playing fields in the fastest growing regional amateur basketball league.
“Ganito dapat eh. Ganito yung laki, ganito kaganda yung facilities. Ito yung ideal na home court dapat ng mga teams dito sa MPBL,” said Duremdes.
Photo from Makati Coliseum Facebook/Rayjohn Balasta