NOT a few basketball fans were stunned when they learned about the quite expensive price tags on the tickets for Gilas Pilipinas' two tune-up games against a team of NBA stars led by the Los Angeles Clippers' Blake Griffin and the Portland Trail Blazers' Damian Lillard.
Although the ticket prices were lower than those for last year's ground-breaking NBA preseason game between the Houston Rockets and the Indiana Pacers at the Mall of Asia Arena, most fans understandably found patron seats that cost as much as P23,000 beyond their reach.
Also, the ticket prices were almost four folds higher than those for the 2011 NBA All-Star Weekend which brought in the likes of Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose during the NBA lockout and was organized by the same group spearheaded by the MVP Sports Foundation and Smart Sports.
To get a better point of comparison, see the graphic below the story.
The Smart Araneta Coliseum sections are different since the 2011 game was held before renovations were done on the historic Big Dome. Still the disparity in the prices was quite wide.
When Spin.ph asked MVP Sports Foundation president Al Panlilio, he admitted that the tickets for the 2011 event were simply "underpriced."
“The 2011 prices kasi were underpriced,” said Panlilio, who also stressed that the July 22-23 matches dubbed 'PLDT Last Home Stand' are a benefit event and a good portion of the profit will go to charity.
Panlilio also pointed out that the momentous 2011 games brought in only nine NBA stars playing what amounted to exhibitions to please the fans.
This time, MVP Sports Foundation has brought over a full complement of NBA players that is expected to give Gilas a good tune-up ahead of the national team's campaign in the Fiba World Cup in Spain as well as the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
To best prepare Gilas for the two major events, PLDT, TV5 and the MVP Sports Foundation officials really burned the lines in a bid to bring together a complete team for the tune-up games, a source said.
“Hindi kasi pwedeng i-compare yung price nung 2011 sa price nung ngayon, kasi this year we had to really ask them to play as hard as they can, kasi kailangang mabigyan ng magandang laban yung koponan natin,” said the source.
“Kasi kung hindi pupukpok yung mga banyaga, wala rin 'yung training ng Gilas,” he added.
That at least assures fans who have money to spare to watch the games that they are bound to get their money's worth.
Now expect the likes of Paul George, DeMar DeRozan, Lillard, James Harden, Griffin, NBA finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry, Brandon Jennings, and Tyson Chandler together with up and coming stars Nick Johnson, Terrence Ross and Ed Davis to go toe-to-toe against Gilas.
Panlilio also hinted that this won't be the last, saying the MVP Sports Foundation, under sportsman-businessman Manny V. Pangilinan, will continue to strive to organize world-class sports events for Filipino fans.
“Our group really wants to create programs and events that will benefit the Filipino athletes and the avid Filipino basketball fans,” said Panlilio, who is also Meralco Bolts’ alternate governor in the PBA board.