I didn’t plan to watch the basketball game on September 23rd but I went anyway since I got two free tickets from Mr. Antonio, the team manager of the Gilas Pilipinas. The game: Gilas vs India
Getting to the stadium
I took the subway and got off at SADANG STATION. I left at exit 4 and walked a few meters to find bus 8155 (gray). The bus left a few seconds after I boarded. Lucky me! Or else I would have to wait 30 minutes for the next bus. The trip took 50 minutes. Fare: 3,200 won one way.
I got off the bus at HWASEONG CULTURAL CENTER (화성문화원). I crossed the street to go to Homeplus to buy a cellphone charger and some snacks. There are restaurants around the area but I was happy with my samgak kimbap and yogurt. Good thing they allow food inside the stadium as the people I were sitting with bought hamburgers during halftime.
From Homeplus, I walked for about 10 minutes and there it was ~ Hwaseong Sports Complex. The basketball game is held at the Hwaseong Indoor Gymnasium. There are concessionaires on the first floor but most of them are closed! The only store open is the snack bar on the second floor. That’s also where I met Mr. Antonio to get the tickets.
Before the game
The gate to the gymnasium was opened at 1 p.m. Some of the Filipinos there said they have been at the venue as early as 10 a.m. They came in busloads ~ some as far as Cheonan. Many had day-offs that day and a few said they escaped from their work that day. Nyahahaha!
While the fans were waiting for the gates to open, they spotted Jay Washington who gladly obliged to have his picture taken with them. Thanks Jay!
Entering the gymnasium, the spectators were subjected to security check ~ airport style. This is only the third time I experienced being checked by security in my 11 years here ~ the first time was at Cheongwadae, second was at the National Assembly and then here.
We were able to watch the warm-up of both the Philippines and Indian teams for almost an hour.
Fans came wearing red, white and blue shirts. One group had a big banner showing their support for the team.
During the game
Everyone already knows what happened by now ~ Gilas won against India. The Indian team didn’t score until the middle of the first quarter. After the halftime break, the Philippine team seemed to lose their game but they quickly recovered. Lots of three points, Douthit gave the crowd a treat with his slam dunks and the fastbreaks excited the audience. I heard a lot of “I love you Pingris” and “I love you Norwood” from the female fans.
I don’t recall seeing any fan of the Indian team, but the Filipino fans were courteous and when one Indian player slid and got hurt, some fans shouted “India fighting!”
Oh about that incident, I noticed that the medics didn’t react promptly as they were expected to. While the Indian player was on the floor, the medics seemed to be talking to each other. A little later, the players themselves carried their teammate to their bench. It took a few minutes before the medics realized that someone needed their attention. And what’s more, it took them a few minutes before they were able to unlock the stretcher. From the time that the Indian player slipped until the time he was brought out on a stretcher was a full 7 minutes!
After the game
The final score of the Gilas vs India game: 85 ~ 76.
For the Filipinos in South Korea, it was an honor to cheer for the national team. And we’re just glad that the team won against India (who were fighting their fourth consecutive game). Before going out of the court, Marc Pingris motioned for the fans to go out and so we all followed. It was crowded but Marc went out of the dugout and gladly posed for photos with the Filipinos in Korea. Way to go!
If you haven’t seen the Gilas vs India game… here is the full game as uploaded by News 5.
Gilas vs Iran
We are surely going to watch the games on September 25. In fact, we’ll be at the Sadang station exit 4 as early as 10:45 to catch the bus. It takes almost an hour to Hwaseong. We’ll be having lunch there, too.
If you wanna watch and don’t have a ticket yet, just go to the venue and line-up for the ticket at the box office. It’s only 10,000 won.