The Magnolia Hotshots Hotshots did the improbable by grabbing a 3-2 series lead over defending champions, the San Miguel Beermen, through a Mark Barroca buzzer beater.
But that most likely won’t be the reason anyone will remember that game.
Game 5 of the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup was always going to be about a hero. No one imagined though we’d be talking about Spider-Man.
A man dressed as Spiderman ran onto the court and hit June Mar Fajardo on the jaw before getting tackled by venue security.
— ESPN5 (@Sports5PH) May 10, 2019
With a little bit over three minutes left in the fourth quarter, a court invader dressed as the iconic comic book hero charged into the court and bumped straight into numerous players running the opposite direction. The intruder most notably collided with June Mar Fajardo in the jaw, which shook up the San Miguel star.
Security subdued Spider-Man, before apprehending his companion and another fan who tried to throw a punch at the culprit. Even San Miguel player Ronald Tubid got a shot at the court invader before he was successfully taken into the inner workings of the Big Dome.
It was eventually revealed that the intruder had a message to spread love for the coming mid-term national elections. It was a message none of the players or fans disagreed with, but one that was delivered in the most inappropriate of way.
— Patricia Hizon (@patriciahizon) May 10, 2019
The message that rang clear though was that Spider-Man snapped.
The incident went viral immediately, and even attracted the attention of the NBA’s version of Spider-Man, Donovan Mitchell.
Real one 🕷🕸 https://t.co/KZ6VNe18a8
— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) May 10, 2019
It’s not like uninvited guests, like Friday evening’s Spider-Man, are a unique occurrence in professional sports. Even in the biggest sporting leagues around the world, could not prevent fans from acting inappropriately. Field streakers aren’t an unfamiliar sight in professional football and baseball. While there have been a few notable incidents in the NBA as well.
What set Friday night incident apart is that “Spider-Man” actually could have hurt players on the court and arguably affected the game. With players running the opposite direction as the intruder, it wouldn’t be difficult to imagine a greater collision between him and any of the players. Fajardo was shaken up because he was blindsided, but fortunately that was the full extent of it.
The game was also in the balance, with San Miguel trying to erect a run after trailing 84-78 with 3:08 left in the payoff period. The streaker put an abrupt halt to any momentum the defending champs built.
The reigning MVP made fun of the incident by saying that he thought it was his teammate Arwind Santos, who coincidentally also has the monicker Spider-Man.
“Hindi ko nakita yung tao, tapos bigla na lang may bumangga sa akin, sa jaw ko. Parang nahilo ako at nagulat ako,” Fajardo said. “Pagtingin ko si Spider-Man, akala ko si Arwind (Santos).”
The fallout resulted in Spider-Man’s subsequent arrest, with the PBA saying that it will press charges. Initial reports from various media outlets say that the intruder faces one count of unjust vexation, and alarm and scandal for his exploits.
On the part of Spider-Man, he has yet to say whether or not he will pursue legal action against his forceful removal.
PBA commissioner Willie Marcial has yet to announce any changes to security, Game 6 and a potential Game 7 at the same venue.
While the game will remain infamous for Spider-Man’s action, it is the way it finished that should leave a mark in PBA history.
The Magnolia Hotshots continued to prove that they’re one of the most dangerous contenders to the San Miguel Philippine Cup crown. After a big loss in Game 4, the Hotshots bounced back in Game 5, preventing a big collapse with the walk off game-winner by Barroca. Magnolia now has the momentum after that big play. Game 5 could be a turning point in Philippine Cup history, especially with San Miguel on the brink of losing their Philippine Cup crown for the first time in five years.
The spotlight should be put back to the players who gave fans a dramatic finish to an entertaining game. Barroca was the biggest hero of the day, while Terrence Romeo, Jio Jalalon, and Fajardo played leading roles as well. The players who have given their all in the past five games deserve more attention than one guy in a suit looking for 15 minutes of fame.
It was a memorable, wild, and crazy night all for both the wrong and right reasons. We may be talking about Spider-Man now, but it’s no question it will be the players on the court that will etch their names in PBA history at the end of this titanic series.