AFTER being treated to a loud, colorful call-out, basketball fans were left disappointed when the supposed tune-up game between Gilas Pilipinas and the PLDT Team Fibr All-Stars was reduced into a practice drill at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Tuesday night.
PLDT executive vice president and head of HOME business Ariel Fermin made the announcement before stunned fans after sources bared that the visiting NBA players were barred from playing in the tune-up game since it was not sanctioned by the American pro league.
Even the Gilas Pilipinas players were surprised with the sudden change from game to mere workout, and a source later said some officials now face the ax after the embarrassing cancellation of teh event.
Two Filipino fans who shelled out more than P9,000 to purchase two tickets for patron seats, were surprised to see the Gilas players and NBA stars engaging just some three-man weave and three-on-three situations - and not playing in a full game as they had paid to watch.
“Sobrang bad trip kaya. Kita mo mga faces ng mga tao,” said Edward Yang, who came straight from Cavite where he works in a lumber business.
He said he had to negotiate through traffic and rain just to be able to make it in time for the game.
Yang’s friend, Richmond Cu, said he felt `robbed’ by the incident and is planning to request for a refund.
“Kung puwede i-refund, eh pati nga yung mga (Gilas) players parang confused eh” he said.
Hundreds of fans erupted into boos when the announcement was made and were seen storming out of the Big Dome demanding refunds at the gates.
Still, Team Fibr All-Stars coach John Lucas insisted the drills could help Gilas in its bid to get better as it prepares for the Fiba-World Cup in Spain and the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
More news about the cancelled Gilas-NBA game: