PLDT chairman Manny Pangilinan watches “The Last Home Stand” Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
Telecoms exec appeals for continued support for Gilas
MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) chairman Manny V. Pangilinan again apologized to local basketball fans over the mess caused by the cancellation of the “Last Home Stand” matches, which were supposed to pit a team of NBA stars against the Gilas Pilipinas pool.
Pangilinan admitted in an interview on TV5’s Aksyon on Wednesday that they failed to deliver on the expectations of the Filipino hoops fans.
“Kami ay nagpaumahin for being unable to satisfy their desire to see a good basketball happening yesterday and today,” said Pangilinan, who is also chairman of the No. 3 network.
“We're sorry we didn't deliver on that expectation and as I said, no doubt about it, we will refund you and we apologize for having taken you out there and experience this disappointment,” he added.
Pangilinan said they merely wanted to replicate the Philippines’ NBA experience back in 2011, when they brought in the likes of Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose and Chris Paul to play against local PBA stars.
The telecommunications executive said they also wanted to provide Gilas Pilipinas, which is competing at the FIBA Basketball World Cup in August, an “opening sequence for their preparations."
“Imagine mo they [will play against the] best NBA players? Pangalawa, gusto naming ulitin ang experience ng bansa nating noong 2011 noong nakita nila si Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose, Chris Paul. If we could replicate that with a different set of NBA players, I think that would be good for the country, for basketball loving-people,” said Pangilinan.
Despite the fiasco, he pleaded to fans to continue supporting Gilas Pilipinas for their campaigns in the FIBA Worlds and the Asian Games.
“Sana huwag niyong kaligtaan [despite] itong eposide na ito to continue supporting Gilas and Philippine basketball,” he said.
The TV5 executive explained that they have worked with IGW East West in an effort to bring in the likes of James Harden, Tyson Chandler, Terrence Ross, Kawhi Leonard, Blake Griffin and Paul George for the “Last Home Stand” charity games on Tuesday and Wednesday.
IGW’s role was to arrange the participation of the NBA players in a basketball clinic followed by a 5-on-5 game between Gilas Pilipinas and the NBA stars.
However, he felt that something was amiss when Blake Griffin and Paul George begged off from joining the event for “personal reasons.”
“Over the weekend medyo kinakabahan na ko. Kasi, if I may be specific, si Blake Griffin was supposed to be a part of this NBA team. Hindi po siya dumating, kasi sabi sa amin noong Sabado ng tanghali na 'yung kanyang manager nagkaroon ng problema sa passport,” he explained.
Things went awry when PLDT vice president Ariel Fermin called for an emergency meeting at 5 p.m. of Tuesday, just hours before the first of the two-day exhibition game was supposed to start.
“Nung ka-meeting ko si Coach Chot [Reyes] at Ariel [Fermin] noong alas singko ng hapon, ang aking initial reaction ay ‘I-cancel na natin ito and let's refund in full,’” he said. “Pero siguro in the course of discussion itinuloy na lang, parang sa showbiz: 'on with the show.'”
Pangilinan was present at the Araneta Coliseum where the crowd witnessed their NBA heroes do a few basketball drills with Gilas.
He said he already expected to draw negative reaction due to the shelving of the games.
“Naintindihan namin 'yun at medyo in-expect namin 'yun kasi kung ako man ilagay mo sa posisyon nila na bumili ng ticket, may expectation na merong game, mahirap ‘yun,” he said.
Meanwhile, he refused to tackle the issue on whether the organizers were clear or not on citing that they were merely holding a “show” instead of games. Pangilinan instead focused on the perception generated by the event promotion.
“I don't want to stand on technical ground why we may not been very explicit in terms of saying is there a game. Ang importante ay 'yung perception, expectation ng publiko. Klaro sa amin na they expected a game coming on the heels of the 2011 event,” he acknowledged.