Last Stand

Manila Doctors Hospital
July 22, 2014
Last Stand

On this one gloomy, rainy day, I was already sad that I will miss seeing Kahwi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs and a select group of NBA stars who were supposed to play our beloved Gilas Pilipinas in a pair of charity games dubbed as “PLDT Last Home Stand” at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum. It’s because I was supposed to go under the knife to remove a suspected stone or tumor from my urinary bladder. After over an hour on the operation table and five more in the recovery room where I slept like a dog, I was informed there was none. Miracles do happen. And I thank God for that.
So I was happy. Happier when I saw a beautiful face waiting for me in the hospital room–my lovely wife. Still dazed by the anesthesia injected in me straight to my tingling spine, Kristel then broke the news that the “Home Stand” was cancelled. For a few seconds, I was trying to digest it and after sipping the mineral water my wifey gave me, I then blurted out “Are you kidding me?” Of course she is not. So I took to good old reliable spin.ph. And this time it’s controversial Snow Badua who wrote it.

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THE much-awaited tune-up game pitting Gilas Pilipinas against a team of NBA players failed to push through on Tuesday night when the visiting US stars were barred from playing by the American professional league. Thousands of fans who bought expensive tickets to watch the game at the Smart Araneta Coliseum erupted in boos upon realizing that all they could watch were NBA stars performing drills on the court. A source told Spin.ph an NBA representative showed up to inform organizers that the league’s stars, led by James Harden of the Rockets and Damian Lillard of the Trail Blazers, would not be allowed to play in what amounted to an unsanctioned event. “Hindi pinayagan mga players na lumaro eh. Bawal daw talaga. Parang ligang labas sa atin,” said the source. The game, which formed part of Gilas’ preparations for the Fiba World Cup in Spain and the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, was supposed to start at 7 p.m. and fans started to grow impatient waiting for a game that never happened. During that time, sources said organizers were in frantic negotiations with the NBA representative in a bid to salvage the benefit games. However, the visiting NBA stars were only allowed to take part in drills and nothing more. It was later announced that Gilas players would be playing in a scrimmage game by themselves. It was Gilas coach Chot Reyes who announced to the fans that there won’t be a tune-up game between the NBA players and the national team, saying “there won’t be a game tonight” before performing some drills with the players. Disappointed fans storming out of the Big Dome were seen being given a refund by organizers. In a press conference, organizers admitted the NBA players were threatened with suspensions if they pushed through with the game. The NBA official maintained the players were not allowed to play in other games even during the offseason without the league’s permission. A similar game staged by the same group in 2011 that featured Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant was not barred by the American league because it was staged during the NBA lockout. The cancellation was just the latest bizarre twist to an event that was hit by another foul-up when its two biggest attractions, Blake Griffin and Paul George, failed to plane in as scheduled.

Here’s another story by spin.ph written by Reuben Terrado. This time, MVP himself apologizes.

BUSINESSMAN-sportsman Manny V. Pangilinan apologized for the foul-up that forced the cancellation of Gilas Pilipinas’ tune-up games against a team of NBA stars, who were barred at the last minute from playing in an “unsanctioned event.”
Pangilinan, PLDT head and president of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, said the organizers, just like the fans, were stunned by the “sudden turn of events” that prompted them to scrap the two games serving as a tune-up game for the World Cup-bound Gilas team.
“First of all, we would like to apologize to our Filipinos fans for having disappointed them,” said Pangilinan in a somber tone during a hastily called press conference at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“We ourselves were disappointed with the way things have developed.”
Officials of title sponsor PLDT and organizers admitted that they got a call from NBA officials hours before the first match on Tuesday threatening the players, led by James Harden, DeMar DaRozan and Damian Lillard, with suspensions if they push through with the game.
Going on the defensive, PLDT officials admitted they didn’t secure a permit from the NBA but were adamant they didn’t advertise the event as a game.
The same group staged a similar event in 2011 featuring Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose, but those games didn’t need a permit from the American league because it happened during the NBA lockout.
Pangilinan also assured all fans who bought tickets to the game would be refunded.

Now let’s see the Twitter barrage of our dear friend, Phl Daily Inquirer assistant sports editor, Boston Celtics diehard and Pakitang Gilas head coach Francis Ochoa about the issue.

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MVP: I’m extremely disappointed with the turn of events. Our job is to be accountable for people’s expectations hence refund.
CHOT: Players got scared (of sanctions) that’s why there was not even a 5-on-5 after the training.
Events group head insists: If we look back we were very careful that we would not announce a game. We vetted that.
Events management group said NBA warned players they would be sanctioned, fined if they played.
REFUND WILL ALSO BE AVAILABLE FOR TOMORROW’S TICKET HOLDERS
BREAKING: TOMORROW’S EVENT CANCELLED–MVP
PLDT was assured players would play. They learned hours before that wouldn’t happen.
Events group was the same that brought Kobe, Durant, Rose, CP3 et. al… the last time around.
Just in: Highly placed source said PLDT entered into agreement with events group in good faith. Was assured PBA players would play.
Clarification: PLDT statement on there was never a mention that there would be a game came from Ariel Fermin, who announced refund.
Refund is for those who won’t be happy with the open workout. We were told there would be a hotline for refunds.
Family seated at patron ranting openly. “50k tapos practice lang? C’mon! Don’t fool us again.” Some fans openly cursing.
Fan from Nueva Ecija says he is disappointed. Skipped work, traveled 3 hours, expecting game.

Sportsmaryosep’s prognosis: Deym, it still hurts (my operation, not the cancellation). I don’t blame MVP because, to tell you all the truth and you probably know this by now, he genuinely has good intentions and love basketball to the bones. If you don’t know it by now, MVP has spent millions not just in basketball, but in other sports as well with the main aim at helping sports development in the country. So who’s to blame? Definitely not MVP.

P.S. Dear MVP, thank you still for bringing us the Smart Ultimate All Star Weekend. This is the genuine ultimate experience. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Follow Sportsmaryosep on Twitter: @JoeySVillar

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(Photos courtesy of Philstar.com, The Philippine STAR, spin.ph and TJ Manotoc)

 

Notes: Just recently, PLDT Home posted this message in their Facebook page.

PLDT Statement on The Last Home Stand Basketball Event

PLDT has announced that The Last Home Stand basketball event between Gilas Pilipinas and the Fibr All-Stars scheduled for tomorrow, July 23, is cancelled.

“We wish to apologize to our Filipino basketball fans for the sudden and disappointing turn of events today. We ourselves are extremely disappointed by this unexpected development. All we wanted was to give our Filipino basketball fans a real treat while at the same time, through this benefit event, help our countrymen who are still recovering from Supertyphoon Yolanda and more recently Typhoon Glenda,” PLDT Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said.

PLDT Executive Vice President Ariel Fermin assured ticket holders for events today and tomorrow will be refunded in full in an expeditious manner. Fermin said those seeking a refund may send the following information: 1) Full name; 2) ticket number; 3) contact number; and 4) email address either by text message to 0919 614 0865 or email to RefundIGW@gmail.com.

The ten-digit ticket number can be found at left portion of the ticket, below the seat number.

Fermin said that the agreement with the event organizer, IGW — whose role it was to arrange the participation of the NBA players — provided for a format involving a basketball clinic followed by a 5-on-5 game between Gilas Pilipinas and the Fibr All-Stars. However, PLDT was informed by IGW a few hours before the event today, July 22, that the 5-on-5 game was, as advised by IGW to PLDT, not allowed by the NBA.

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