Trouble in Manilla; NBA vs. Philippines

Basketball fans in the Philippines are raging over the recent cancelation of an NBA all-stars vs. Philippines national team Gilas.

The game which was scheduled for July 22, 2014 was about to take place until the NBA pulled the plug on the game about an hour before tip-off. The Pilipino fans who paid over $200 USD per ticket rushed to the ticket offices for a refund once the announcement was made.

This was no ordinary charity all-star event with just any NBA players. The roster included Kawhi Leonard, James Harden, Paul George (a no-show), Damian Lillard, Blake Griffin (a no-show – see apology here), Demar DeRozan, Terrence Ross, Kyle Lowry, Tyson Chandler, Brandon Jennings and Ed Davis. It’s safe to say Philippines’ national team would have been the Washington Generals to the NBA’s Harlem Globetrotters.

So essentially fans paid over $200 a ticket to watch this

So what was the reason behind the NBA pulling the plug on the deal?

These NBA players are under strict NBA contracts and are not allowed to take money from an outside organization to play or partake in any basketball activity. That includes dunk contests, three-point competitions and scrimmages. It was stated that a Pilipino committee was paying each player up to $150,000 for their participation in Tuesday night’s exhibition scrimmage.

So why do we see these players playing in pro-am leagues during the summer then?

According to the NBA contracts, the players are allowed to participate in games that they don’t get paid for under the “love for the game” act.

This was basically as team USA vs. team Philippines matchup that could possibly be seen at this year’s FIBA World Cup in Spain. A chance for team Philippines to see exactly where they stand against the world elites.

When all is said and done, somebody has a lot of explaining to do with regard to ticket refunds and explaining to these NBA players that they won’t be getting their 150K (although the NBA did threaten to suspend the NBA players if they participated in the event).

Nick Bedard (@bedardnick) is the editor-in-chief of

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