PHILIPPINE Sports Commission chairman Ricardo Garcia came to the defense of former Houston Rockets center Yao Ming on Tuesday, saying the retired NBA star did not abandon the Shanghai Sharks game against a PBA selection at the end of two-day Philippines-China Goodwill Series.
Garcia said Yao was really not committed to appear in the second match of a two-day series. He issued the clarification after fans expressed disappointment at not seeing the retired 7-foot-6 NBA star during the Sharks’ match against the PBA selection at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The PSC chairman added Yao was really booked to return to China on Tuesday morning, less than 24 hours after the Sharks absorbed a 71-80 loss to Gilas Pilipinas at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“Hindi siya (Yao) biglang umalis,” Garcia told Spin.ph. “Alam naman ng lahat ‘yun na he was leaving. We were just hoping na baka maiwan pa (siya).”
Garcia said Yao, the team owner of the Shanghai Sharks, had a scheduled meeting in Beijing, the reason why he had to leave early.
“May appointment siya sa Beijing. Ang ticket nga niya, hindi Shanghai. Manila to Beijing,” Garcia explained.
A source told Spin.ph that management of Araneta Coliseum expressed disappointment over Yao’s no-show as the venue already had advertisement materials showing his face to promote the game.
But Garcia said: "This was already announced that Yao Ming will just be here for one game.”