Limpag: Ultras introduce b’ball fans to football

Mike T. Limpag

I MAY not agree with what some of the Ultras Filipinas say about Philippine football but there’s no question that when it comes to supporting the national team, they walk the talk. Not only that, here in this country, when it comes to supporting the national team, they set the standard.

For a full 90 minutes, they’d be up there in the stands, cheering, chanting and singing their hearts out.

In the past week in the Seaba championships, they introduced the basketball crowd to the football-type of cheering (at least, the ideal type of cheering I want to see in the stands.)

From just a handful at the start, there were already quite a number of them when their group was flashed on screen during the championship match between Gilas and Indonesia.

How effective were they? Well, for a start, the bane of football fans--the noisy drums and music that drown out the cheers--were asked to be silent so their cheers would be heard.

No less than Chot Reyes himself said that after the first time he heard the Ultras. He said he was concerned that they were going to be drowned out by the drums, so he was hoping the drums would be “quieted” in favor of the chants. And their chants were flashed in the monitor at MOA, so the rest of the crowd could go along with them.

The MOA was one noisy pit during the Fiba Asia championships in 2013, but for the Seaba, it wasn’t that crowded so the Ultras presence more than influenced the crowd.

And I hope what the Ultras started, the rest of the basketball crowd would adopt in future home matches of Gilas Pilipinas. It’s quite boring to be listening to the same old “de-fense, de-fense,” chants and letting the drum and bugle corp drown out the noise.

Sing your heart out, chant your support. Start a wave if you want.

Perhaps seeing this trend start in the basketball events (not just the Gilas games) would get the fans in the football events to do the same, too. Won’t that be a bit ironic? For majority of the Pinoy football fans to follow a basketball trend that was started by football fans?

THEY SAID IT. “I love the Ultras Filipinas. IN fact, at the start of the games, we were trying to get the guy controlling the sound system to cut the music off because the Ultras were starting their chant.” (Chot Reyes.)

“Their support has been huge. It’s great that they’re always here supporting us. It fuels us to play at our best and also helps our confidence.” (June Mar Fajardo.)