When the Game Is Not Just a Game

FILIPINO basketball fans roared with excitement in anticipation of the PLDT-organized event, “Last Home Stand,” which was announced to take place in Manila on July 22-23, 2014. This was supposed to be a two- day charity event where fans actually get to see Smart-Gilas Philippine FIBA World Cup Team and select NBA stars in an exhibition game—all in one court. The prospect proved too good to be true, and yet it was about to unfurl before the fans’ very eyes.

However, the exhilaration would turn out to be short-lived; no less than PLDT Chairman Manny V. Pangilinan (MVP) himself announced that the event line-up for the second day would not push through because the organizers failed to secure a permit from the NBA, thus making the event unsanctioned. If the players pushed thru with this, they would have to face the consequences, such as suspension. In lieu of the event line-up, drills practice took place.

To say that Filipino fans were disappointed would be an understatement.

Although one may consider this unfortunate event to be a fluke, nevertheless it has left a sore spot not only on the fans and the organizer, but also on the image of the country in general. In recent years, the Philippine events scene has been brimming with endless possibilities and constantly surprising its audience by bringing in topnotch individuals or groups who are considered as experts in their field—may it be in music, sports or theater. One can still remember the highly-anticipated musical Wicked being extended, or Grammy Award-winner Alicia Keys belting out her hits and singing duets with Filipino artists, and the list goes on. This just shows the diversity of interests of the Filipino audience and its receptiveness to these kinds of events.

Therefore, when events get cancelled due to miscommunication, all the efforts of the organizers will have been for naught. The audience gets disappointed. And the foreign acts or partners are left hanging.

The company can incur financial losses that will take a while before it can recover. Its brand may suffer a serious beating because of this, or worse, it can earn a reputation for failing to deliver or for under-delivering. On the part of foreign partners, there is a possibility that they become more wary or picky when dealing with Philippine promoters or companies for fear that a similar incident might occur. And finally, mistrust may breed on the part of the consumers causing them to take a second look before making a decision to patronize an event of a certain company and to be discouraged from using their hard-earned pesos on pricey tickets.

Although ‘extremely disappointed,’ MVP’s quick resolve to take responsibility and accountability for what had transpired is very commendable and shows strength of character as a leader. Apart from this, the organizers had also announced that those disappointed with the outcome may opt to refund their tickets (proceeds will still go to charity). It takes a lot for any person to own up to mistakes when things get out of hand, even if it can be said that in reality, the failure or inadvertence is not solely his or her fault. Accepting responsibility appears to be the more prudent choice of action instead of making excuses or pointing fingers. Because of this, it can only be hoped that the consuming public has been somewhat pacified and the opening of floodgates which can cause permanent damage to a company’s image might have possibly been averted.

Hopefully, regardless of personal opinions on the subject, we learn a thing or two from this experience: for more circumspection and accountability in transactions on the part of companies, and for the consumers to be more vigilant and critical of the products offered to them. In the end, all these combined efforts will be beneficial as it will not only lead to better events; it will also help make the country earn the reputation of being a good host. After all, what everyone wants, really, is to have a good time. P


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