|Gilas' Jeffrei Chan and NBa's James Harden. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines – The organizers of the botched charity games between several National Basketball Association (NBA) stars and Gilas Pilipinas are expected to take a big financial hit due to the cancellation of the matches.
According to Yahoo! Sports, some of the basketball stars who were supposed to play in the two-day charity event were reportedly offered at least $150,000 -- or roughly P6.48 million -- each.
“The NBA players cut a direct deal with the Manila organizers, including some star players earning $150,000-plus stipends for the two-day event in the Philippines, sources said,” Adrian Wojnarowski wrote in his report in Yahoo! Sports.
The two-day charity event was sponsored by telco giant Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) and organized by IGW, "whose role it 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.
Tickets ranging from P750 to P23,000 were sold to raise funds for the survivors of super typhoon Yolanda.
The event was also supposed to be a basketball party treat by PLDT chairman Manny V. Pangilinan, who recently celebrated his birthday.
However, the NBA has given their players a stern warning just hours before the event on Tuesday evening. The players were reportedly even threatened to be meted with heavy fines if they participate in the “unsanctioned matches.”
“Player agents believe that the NBA took a hardline stance on the Manila event because it wants to keep financial control of these international events involving NBA players, selling its own sponsorships to organizers and controlling the payouts to players,” wrote Wojnarowski.
NBA players who were supposed to participate in the charity games include James Harden, Tyson Chandler, Terrence Ross, Ed Davis, Brandon Jennings, Damian Lillard, DeMar DeRozan, Nick Johnson, Kyle Lowry and 2014 Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.
Instead of holding a scrimmage with Gilas Pilipinas, the players hoped to pacify the crowd at the Araneta Coliseum with a series of basketball drills.
Panglinan later apologized for the cancellation of the games.
“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," the businessman said.
The PLDT also assured ticket holders they will be refunded in full.