TWO Gilas Pilipinas players admitted having mixed emotions when the team’s supposed exhibition game against a collection of NBA players was reduced into a mere practice drills at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Gilas veteran Ranidel de Ocampo said he only became aware of the change of plans after PLDT executive vice president Ariel Fermin made the announcement shortly after the traditional players’ call-out.
But the sweet-shooting De Ocampo admitted Gilas needed a tune-up game more than the practice drills since the team will be facing tough opponents in the Fiba-World Cup in Spain and the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
“Ang kailangan namin talaga laro eh. Hindi naman namin kailangan ng mga drills, though ngayon lang kasi nalaman eh,” De Ocampo told Spin.ph just before being whisked out of the basketball court by Big Dome’s bouncers.
“Hindi natin ini-expect ito. Eh ngayon lang nagsabi ang NBA kaya siguro nagka-ganun,” he added.
On the other hand, Japeth Aguilar said he felt bad for the paying public, who shelled out as much as P23,000 just to be able to see the national team play against the visiting team of NBA stars.
“It was good, pero iba yung in-expect ng mga fans. I think may rule yata sila (NBA players) na dapat sundin, but it’s okay practicing with them,” Aguilar said.
Still, both players are hoping fans would understand the situation and consider the tickets they bought as their own way of helping victims of typhoon Glenda.
“Sa mga fans na nagpunta dito, sana maintindihan nila yung nangyari. Nasa kanila naman yun kung gusto nila i-refund, eh i-refund nila, pero kung di man nila na-refund, at least naitulong nila sa mga biktima ng bagyo,” added De Ocampo.
More news about the cancelled Gilas-NBA game: