IN case you're wondering why the name of Paul Pierce disappeared from the list of NBA stars that are set to play Gilas Pilipinas in tune-up matches next week, here's 'The Truth' behind the sudden twist.
It will be recalled that Pierce was one of the names first announced by basketball patron Manny V. Pangilinan to take part in the July 22-23 matches at the Smart Araneta Coliseum serving as part of Gilas' buildup for the Fiba World Cup and the Asian Games.
MVP Sports Foundation president Al Panlilio bared that Pierce’s agent had verbally agreed to have NBA star suit up in the games, but his sudden refusal to sign a contract forced the organizing Smart Sports to drop the Boston Celtics great from the roster.
That also forced Smart Sports to look elsewhere, leading to the signing of Tyson Chandler and James Harden for the NBA all-star side led by Blake Griffin, Damien Lillard and Demar DeRozan.
“Pierce hasn’t signed the contract so we dropped him in favor of (Tyson) Chandler and (James) Harden,” said Panlilio, who is one of the trusted men of Pangilinan.
“Napaganda pa nga,” he added.
Meanwhile, another insider bared that Pierce's decision to leave the Brooklyn Nets and sign a contract with the Washington Wizards for the next NBA season may have prompted the change of heart.
The same insider bared that Pangilinan also attempted to bring in other high-caliber NBA superstars Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook for the tune-up matches.
But injuries, free agency, and other reasons got in the way, the source added.