23 July 2014

Technically True, But Still Misleading

Gilas NBA Game
They say they have no intention to deceive Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) fans, but its obvious that the organizers of the "Last Home Stand" meant not to reveal the whole truth either. They are like Aes Sedai, a special society in the fictional universe of Robert Jordan's "The Wheel of Time" book series.

Aes Sedai were sworn not to tell a lie, but they could make a statement that is misleading but technically true (giving rise to the saying, "An Aes Sedai never lies, but the truth she tells you isn't the one you think you hear.")

During the hastily organized press briefing after scrapping of the 'expected' match between Gilas Pilipinas and a team of NBA stars, East West LLC CEO Maria Espaldon, said that they followed all the procedure to "conform with all the rules of the NBA regarding such events." What she did not say nor confirm though was that the National Basketball Association (NBA) did not sanction a charity two-game event.

In an official statement, the NBA said East-West Private LLC, which helped Manila organizers stage what was 'believed and portrayed' to be Gilas' final home tune-ups prior to the Fiba World Cup, was informed long ago about the requirements for events such as this to conform to the terms of the league's Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the players.

So, if a game is officially out of the table, what is the option left for the organizers? Organized a basketball clinic?

"The way we planned this event was legitimately a clinic," Espaldon said.

With all due respect to Espaldon, Filipinos are not stupid. When the event was billed the "Last Home Stand" it smells of a competitive game as if your nation's pride depended on it, otherwise why call it as such. Who in their right mind will look at the highlighted title and think that this was intended to be a practice game featuring several set plays or a showcase of individual high-flying acts?

If it was a basketball clinic, then it should have been clearly reflected and conveyed to the public. However, like the Aes Sedai, the organizers banked on the technicality of the meaning and not on the perceptions that the promotional materials will generate. Even some Gilas players admitted that they went to the Big Dome expecting to play a full-on, five-on-five game.

Unfortunately, the event turned haywire when the players, beginning with the Toronto Raptors' Kyle Lowry, got calls from the NBA warning them about possible sanctions if they take part in the games.

"We had made all the plans to actually have a game. We ended up today last minute, the players had an emergency meeting and Kyle Lowry claimed he had a call and was worried about his career," Espaldon said.

Asked by the press why they still gambled on holding the event considering that the NBA has already declined to sanction it, Espaldon insisted it wasn't a gamble since they conformed with all the NBA requirements.

The problem is that nobody believes that poor excuse because the NBA is as clear as day that they have "taken the position that any such exhibition or competition is unallowable and is not approved for player participation under the [Collective Bargaining Agreement], regardless of whether it is incorporated into a 'clinic' or other 'benign-sounding activity.'"

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