MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner Chito Salud is calling on the Mall of Asia Arena to tighten their security after the Meralco Bolts' dugout was ransacked by robbers during their game last night.
The Bolts were playing against GlobalPort Batang Pier when thieves made it to their locker room. Meralco head coach Ryan Gregorio was the primary victim, as he lost most of his important belongings including his iPad and iPhone.
"It's indeed unfortunate," Salud told PBA.ph. "They just have to tighten their security measures and improve their response procedure."
The team discovered the incident during halftime and informed the MOA Arena security. According to Spin.ph, Gregorio’s bag was eventually recovered "in the hallway leading to the MOA Arena locker rooms."
Only Gregorio's car keys were left inside the bag.
"Entering the Arena, I was confident that nothing of this sort will happen here since this is a state-of-the-art venue. Obviously, I was wrong," Gregorio told Spin.ph.
"I am confident the MOA Arena management can immediately rectify their shortcomings, ensure the safety of the teams and the fans, and indemnify in full the victims of today's theft and robbery," Salud said.
Meanwhile, MOA Arena general manager Arnel Gonzales told Spin.ph that the incident was a "shock" for them.
"While a lot of people are still adjusting to the system we are implementing, probably this is still a learning experience for us. But we will address this concern," Gonzales said.
"The Arena management, through us, has expressed the willingness to sort out whatever needs to be sorted out," he said, adding that the MOA Arena management is conducting its own investigation.
The Bolts eventually lost the game, 104-105, after surrendering a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter.