Volleyball star Alyssa Valdez gushed in delight as she and her pet were featured as a virtual fan in a game of the United States’ National Basketball Association aired on Monday morning.
The 27-year-old athlete was holding her pet dog Blake, or “Hammerhead Blake,” as his Instagram page says, while they were seen watching the game of the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets in the first quarter.
Valdez reacted to one of the social media users who saw her on the screen and took a video of her appearance as proof.
“Hi po,” the online user said as he tagged the athlete with a smiling emoji.
Valdez retweeted his post and expressed her delight as she saw her pet on the virtual benches.
Blakey boy!! 😍😍 https://t.co/SGIZqSlIIG
— Alyssa Valdez (@AlyssaValdez2) September 7, 2020
Other Filipino watchers of the playoffs game likewise expressed their amazement when the volleyball star appeared as an NBA virtual fan, including basketball coach Charles Tiu.
“Wow big time @AlyssaValdez2 Virtual fan sa Lakers – Rockets game. Na zoom-in pa! Haha,” he tweeted.
“Did I just see Alyssa Valdez with her dog as a virtual fannin a Laker game? Philippines represent,” exclaimed another Twitter user with hearts and a Philippine flag emoji.
“Nasa virtual fans ng laro ng Lakers si Alyssa Valdez kasama aso n’ya, cutie hahaha,” another online user noticed.
Wow!!! naman isa sa virtual fans ng NBA game ng Lakers si Alyssa Valdez at si Blake na focus pa sa kanila ang camera https://t.co/ZOYrreOEHF
— Allforvolley (@letletalinsunu1) September 7, 2020
Valdez is a pet lover who takes care of her dog with boyfriend and basketball athlete Kiefer Ravena.
Last year, they opened an account dedicated to their beloved dog which features solo pics, as well as snippets of them bonding with the canine.
Meanwhile, Valdez’s appearance as an NBA virtual fan prompted her name to briefly enter local Twitter’s top trending list on Monday morning.
Other game-related keywords likewise entered the list such as “Lakers,” “Lebron” and “Westbrook.”
As of Monday morning (Philippine time), the series is tied at 1-1 as the Lakers earned a score of 117 on Game 2 of NBA’s Western Conference Semifinals. Rockets, who won at the match prior, earned 109.
NBA resumed its season last month after it was halted in March due to the threat of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, there are no live audiences in the games until the Finals as part of health and safety protocols, although there is the virtual fan initiative where spectators can be featured in the games through Microsoft Teams.
Experts said that large crowds and gatherings must be avoided in order to lessen the risk of transmitting the virus which is airborne in enclosed indoor settings.
People are expected to stay at least one meter away from each other, which is nearly equivalent to a motorcycle’s length, although the health department encourages keeping a distance of two to three meters for maximum protection.
COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that could be transmitted through droplets emitted when an infected person talks, sings or shouts.