The 37th season of the PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) kicked off on October 2, 2011, at the recently-minted Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Eager fans who trooped to the venue, which was filled up to Upper Box A, came to support their favorite players, and—on the side—do some star-spotting.
One of the most applauded part was the presentation of teams and their respective muses:
- Actress Bubbles Paraiso for Alaska Aces
- Actress AcRhian Ramos for B-Meg Llamados
- Singer-artist-designer Solenn Heussaff for Barangay Ginebra Kings
- Actress Maricar Reyes for Powerade Tigers
- Host-VJ Iya Villania for Shopinas.com Clickers
- Budding actress Helga Kraph for Barako Bull
- Bb. Pilipinas Intenational 2011 Diane Necio and Bb. Pilipinas Tourism 2011 Isabella Manjon for Meralco Bolts
- Miss World Philippines 2011 1st Princess Helen Nicolette Henson, 2nd Princess Martha Chloe McCully and Miss Photogenic Samantha Neville Purvor for Petron Blaze Boosters
- Miss Earth Philippines-Fire 2011 Michelle Gavagan for Rain Or Shine ElastoPainters
- 2010 Miss Universe 4th runner-up Venus Raj wore the sash of Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters.
But wait, the last team had one more muse—the Superstar herself, Ms. Nora Aunor!
Of the celebrity muses, Solenn, Rhian, and Nora received the loudest cheers and applause from the crowd.
2011 Miss Universe 3rd Runner-Up Shamcey Supsup was announced as this year's Meralco Ambassador of Light, who also helped in awarding this year's seven Hall of Fame inductees with their plaques.
Among the awardees were Alvin Patrimonio, one of only two players to ever be given the distinction of 4-time Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the PBA; and Freddie Hubalde, who was the 1977 MVP and recognized as one of the greatest shooters to ever play in the PBA and part of the league's 25 greatest players of all time.
Incidentally, the latter's son Paolo Hubalde, a Shopinas.com Clickers point guard, was supposed to appear in a Viva Films helmed-movie Private Benjamin as Vice Ganda's leading man.
MORE STARS WATCHED. Some TV5 talents came as part of the courtside audience—Bagets cast members Aki Torio, Josh Padilla, Nadine Ilustre, Meg Imperial, Rico dela Paz, and Shay Garcia.
Soap actor JC de Vera, who sat two rows behind Shamcey Supsup and the PBA board of governors, was very happy to witness the season's opening and first game.
"As a star, I always play basketball in our village and I play with other people, and at the same time, I watch PBA live," he exclaimed.
JC arrived with his Ang Utol Kong Hoodlum leading lady Jasmine Curtis, who told PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal), "See, I played basketball for my school three years ago...for three years straight.
"But locally, I support basketball because all my friends here, they are guys and they actually play basketball in our local areas and minsan pag free ako, ina-attend ko yung games nila.
"But this is my first time to attend PBA live. I think it's cool, sana mapanood ko yung game, sana I can stay."
The opening ceremonies were followed by the first game of the season: Rain or Shine Elasto Painters versus Barangay Ginebra Kings.
This season's official TV station partner is AKTV—the new home of sports in the Philippines and powered by Sports TV5.