MANILA, Philippines – The Games and Amusement Board (GAB) said the botched charity games between several NBA players and members of Gilas Pilipinas seemed to have elements of fraud with the way the event was promoted.
According to GAB commissioner Aquil Mohammed Tamano, fans who bought tickets for the show last week expected to see a game between the visiting NBA stars and members of the Philippine national team pool.
But fans felts shortchanged after they were treated to a series of basketball drills instead of a 5-on-5 game.
"At first glance, it looks like here are elements of estafa in this case," Tamano said in Eddie Alinea’s Philboxing report. "It has come to our attention that the event was advertised as a basketball game between the Philippine men's basketball team and selected NBA players."
"They even sold tickets ranging from a minimum of P750 to a maximum P20,000," added the GAB official. "Every basketball fan who bought tickets to the events, naturally thought that they were for the games as advertised. But no basketball game took place."
The NBA stars led by James Harden, Tyson Chandler, Terrence Ross and Kawhi Leonard were reportedly given a last-minute warning by the NBA from participating in unsanctioned games, which led to the cancellation of the matches.
"Somehow, somewhere, there seemed to be deceit and negligence on the part of the organizers," Tamano said.
The GAB official blamed the local organizers for failing to fulfill all the requirements needed for Gilas to play with the NBA stars.
The games were supposed to test the mettle of the locals before they go to Spain, which is why it has been dubbed the “Last Home Stand.”
Tamano said they are awaiting PLDT's official statement regarding GAB's query and will decide if the organizers will be held liable for the mess.
He also said GAB may recommend the filing of charges to the Department of Justice (DOJ) if they find that the organizers should be held liable for the incident.
"If we find out that a crime had been committed, then we in the GAB, having the mandate to safeguard the public welfare, will be recommending the filing of the necessary charges with the DOJ for the purpose," Tamano said.
PLDT has started refunding the tickets Thursday last week.
In a statement, PLDT said fans who bought their tickets from Ticketnet outlets may claim their cash refund at the Ticketnet box office at the yellow gate of the SMART Araneta Coliseum from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.