THE NBA has spoken - and it has pinned the blame for the cancelled Gilas vs NBA stars tune-up games on the third-party agency that helped organizers set up the two-day event.
In a statement, the NBA said East-West Private LLC, which helped Manila organizers stage what was supposed to be Gilas' final home tune-ups prior to the Fiba World Cup, was informed long ago about the requirements for events such as this to conform to the terms of the league's Collective Bargaining Agreement with the players.
The NBA said those requirements were not met, prompting the league to threaten the NBA players with sanctions if they participated in the Manila event.
"Under the terms of the NBA's Collective Bargaining Agreement, players are allowed to participate in offseason basketball games or exhibitions when requirements for those events are met, including ensuring that appropriate safeguards be in place, and the promoter seeks the proper exemptions from the NBA and the player’s team," the league said in a statement released to media offices.
"The promoter of this proposed event, East-West Private LLC, was informed of this process several months ago but did not take the required steps," it added.
In a press conference on Tuesday night, Maria Espaldon, CEO of East West, admitted that the NBA refused its request for a sanction in April but insisted that they conformed with the league's requirements.
"We did a lot of due diligence on the events that we run, they actually told us that we can bring the players for clinics but not a full-on game,” she said. “So we asked, what do you mean by a full-on game, and they gave us a list of their requirements and all of it we were able to meet.”
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 the event.
The NBA also added one line to appease Filipino fans, who statistics show comprise the second largest fanbase of the league outside the US.
"Filipinos are among the most passionate basketball fans in the world and we are committed to bringing them more access to our game and supporting the ongoing Typhoon Haiyan rehabilitation efforts," the NBA said.
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