BUSINESSMAN-sportsman Manny V. Pangilinan apologized for the foul-up that forced the cancellation of Gilas Pilipinas' tune-up games against a team of NBA stars, who were barred at the last minute from playing in an "unsanctioned event."
Pangilinan, PLDT head and president of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, said the organizers, just like the fans, were stunned by the "sudden turn of events" that prompted them to scrap the two games serving as a tune-up game for the World Cup-bound Gilas team.
"First of all, we would like to apologize to our Filipinos fans for having disappointed them," said Pangilinan in a somber tone during a hastily called press conference at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
"We ourselves were disappointed with the way things have developed."
Officials of title sponsor PLDT and organizers admitted that they got a call from NBA officials hours before the first match on Tuesday threatening the players, led by James Harden, DeMar DaRozan and Damian Lillard, with suspensions if they push through with the game.
Asked why no permit was sought from the NBA, Pangilinan said they were assured by the agency they were dealing with that a previous event with a similar format - which had the stars holding a basketball clinic before playing in a game - was allowed by NBA officials.
Going on the defensive, PLDT officials admitted they didn't secure a permit from the NBA but were adamant they didn't advertise the event as a game.
The same group staged a similar event in 2011 featuring Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose, but those games didn't need a permit from the American league because it happened during the NBA lockout.
Pangilinan also assured all fans who bought tickets to the game would be refunded. The process will be announced soon, he added.
More news about the cancelled Gilas-NBA game: