The news that selected National Basketball Association (NBA) superstars did not end up playing an exhibition game with the Gilas Pilipinas national team did not surprise me at all. When that news broke out, I simply said to myself that expecting selected NBA stars to play an exhibition game against the national team was “too good to be true.”
There were times in the past where NBA super stars like Kevin Durant, Javale McGee and even Kobe Bryant played exhibition games in the Philippines, but I have not seen anything of the scale that was supposed to take place in Manila last week.
The line-up of NBA super stars was in fact intimidating or really too good to be true, because it included Blake Griffin and Kahwi Leonard, among others. I said “wow,” at the line up because it was really, too good to be true.
But let’s face it—Griffin, now considered the third best player in the NBA behind Durant and Lebron James, would be taking a degree of risk if he plays an exhibition game against Gilas Pilipinas. And how much does the Los Angeles Clippers pay Griffin? Millions of dollars. So there’s the no-brainer—the Clippers won’t risk their multi-million dollar investment in an exhibition game in the Philippines. It’s that simple.
Even if Griffin chooses to “play it safe” during the exhibition game, there’s no telling if he would get overeager during some moments, and the possibility of getting an unexpected injury is always real even in an exhibition game.
<a href=”http://www.manilatimes.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/peter_cariño.jpg”><img class=”size-full wp-image-41444″ src=”http://www.manilatimes.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/peter_cariño.jpg” alt=”Peter Cariño” width=”150″ height=”188″ /></a> Conrad M. Cariño
Just take for example elite-level boxers who spar—they get hurt during sparing sessions or even during training itself. And when boxers spar, they are not supposed to go all-out, but they step on the gas during some occasions which can expose them to injuries.
Anyway, I really do not know if making the Gilas Pilipinas team play against an NBA selection that “plays safe” can prepare them for the intense competition in the FIBA World Cup. Maybe the whole thing was meant to be an “exhibition” with no banging of bodies at the shaded lane, hard drives to the basket, and what have you. And there lies the problem – what’s the point of the whole exercise if it will be just an “exhibition game” meant not to push the Smart Gilas team members out of their comfort zones.
Do you honestly expect Leonard to bang bodies with Gilas Pilipinas stalwarts like Marc Pingris, or Griffin to push and shove the bigger players of the national team in the shaded lane?
And if members of the NBA selection get overeager, what are the chances of them getting injured or making their present injuries worse. From what I have heard, Griffin is not playing the FIBA meet because he is nursing a back injury.
Perhaps an exhibition game between the top and toughest players in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) and Gilas Pilipinas would have sufficed. But then, that would pale in comparison with an exhibition game pitting an NBA selection against the national team in terms of drawing an audience.
Of course, there is also the possibility that the management of each PBA team would not risk their top players in an exhibition game against Gilas Pilipinas, because of the possibility of their top players getting injured (there we go again). So if the PBA teams do not want their top players to risk injury in an exhibition game, what more of the management of the NBA teams or the league itself?