Blake Griffin, Paul George no-shows; Gilas charity game called off

Blake Griffin, Paul George no-shows; Gilas charity game called off

(UPDATED) Basketball fans were doubly disappointed Tuesday night after two of the biggest names headlining the PLDT Home Last Home Stand Charity Event were unable to make it to Manila at the last minute. To make matters worse, the scheduled exhibition game between Team Fibr All Stars and Gilas Pilipinas did not take place, with players from both sides participating in practice drills instead.

In a statement released by organizers just a few hours before the first of two charity events pitting Gilas Pilipinas and Team Fibr All-Stars tipped off, the media was informed that Paul George and Blake Griffin would not be showing up.

“We regret to inform you that Fibr All Star Players Blake Griffin and Paul George will not be able to join the Last Home Stand All-Star Charity Event at the Araneta Coliseum on 22nd and 23rd July 2014,” the statement read.

Griffin personally apologized for his absence through a video and saidurgent personal matters prevented him from making the trip to Manila.  He promised to make it up to the fans by coming over soon and "spend one-on-one time with you and do all the great things I’ll miss today with the charity, the kids and of course all of you who are looking forward to spending a great time with all of us from Team Fibr. Keep all your tickets, because we will definitely see each other soon."

The slam dunk champion also said he would be keeping an eye out for Gilas. "We'll see each other in Spain," Griffin said.

George, on the other hand, was reportedly constrained from leaving the United States on account of an urgent personal matter as well.

The video was shown on the jumbotron of the Smart-Araneta Coliseum before the festivities started.

In their place, Griffin’s teammate Matt Barnes showed up to join James Harden, Tyson Chandler, Brandon Jennings, Damian Lillard, Kyle Lowry, Kawhi Leonard, Ed Davis and Terrence Ross in their exhibition with Gilas Pilipinas.


However, the much-anticipated game, including the scheduled side events such as the three-point shootout and the slam dunk exhibition, did not push through. Instead all the players executed practice drills, much to the chagrin of the crowd, which started booing.

"We will not have a game tonight, instead we will give you something you haven't seen before. We'll give you an inside glimpse on for Gilas prepares for the FIBA World Cup," explained Gilas coach Chot Reyes to the crowd.

PLDT Vice President for Home Ariel Fermin said the organizers were willing to give refunds if the fans did not like what they saw.

"We will appreciate it if you give us feedback about this event and we will ready to give out refunds. But please remember that this is a charity. Marami po tayong kababayang nasalanta ng bagyo," Fermin said.

No official explanation was given for the sudden change of plans, although a source told Yahoo Philippines that the National Basketball Association did not give its go-signal for its players to participate in an unsanctioned game.

Later, it was also announced that the July 23 event was cancelled and that refunds would be given to ticketholders.