MANILA – Thousands of basketball fans trooped at the Araneta Coliseum while others with no ticket patiently waited for delayed telecast only to find out that the scheduled charity tune-up game between the Gilas Pilipinas and NBA stars on Tuesday night have been downgraded to scrimmage game.
Reports said the organizers have to cancel the tune-up match after National Basketball Association (NBA) threatened to suspend the NBA star players if they push through with the games.
According to a report of sports website spin.ph, an NBA official said the players were barred from playing in other games even during offseason without the popular league’s permission.
The World Cup-bound Gilas Pilipinas was supposed to face the NBA all-star basketball team led by James Harden of Houston Rackets and Kahwi Leonard of 2014 NBA champion San Antonio Spurs.
Other NBA stars in town for the supposed exhibition match with Gilas Pilipinas were Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers); and Demar Derozan, Kyle Lowry and Terrence Ross of Toronto Raptors.
Basketball stars Blake Griffin (LA Clippers) and Paul George (Indiana Pacers) were supposed to plane in Tuesday but also cancelled trip to the Philippines.
After learning that the much-awaited tune game will not push through, thousands of basketball fans left the Araneta coliseum fuming and frustrated.
Netizens could not also hide their frustration, hitting the organizers for a foul-up despite a promise from Manny V. Pangilinan to refund the ticket.
”You’re using the plight experienced by our countrymen during the series of calamities to cover your huge shortcomings,” former Philippine Basketball League (PBL) commissioner Chino Trinidad posted in his Facebook account.
”Great disappointment,” a comment to Trinidad’s post.
Other netizens demanded not only of their tickets but refund of their plane fare from provinces just to watch the NBA stars-Gilas Pilipinas charity games for the victims of last year’s killer super typhoon Yolanda.
Griffin reportedly apologized to Pangilinan, who was instrumental in the successful campaign of the Gilas Pilipinas to qualify in the World Cup for the first time in four decades.