Chris Paul and NBA Players leave Philippines with a bang

Published: July 25, 2011

((Our very own nikkoewan has taken on the role of a International Correspondent. For those that haven’t been following build-up to the event in the Philippines, he provides some background. HTownHornets at Hornets Report found some video of the game (#4 is where play begins). We’ll be posting nikkoewan’s pictures and tweets soon, so keep coming back. Don’t be shy with the praise for nikkoewan taking his time to do this for all of us.))

As you may have known by now, Chris Paul and a group of stars in the NBA were invited to the Philippines to play some exhibition games by one of the wealthiest Filipinos in the country, Manuel Velez Pangilinan. Now you may ask, who is this guy? And how was he able to invite 4 NBA Superstars, 4 young potential All-Stars and the president of the NBPA union to go to a small SE Asian country that isn’t as developed as China?

The Man behind the Curtains

To understand how rich MVP (his initials) is know that he is the owner of 3 huge and very different firms: TV5 network, Cignal Digital TV and Smart Communications (one of the biggest companies in the Philippines). He is also the owner of TWO freaking teams in the Philippine Basketball Association and heads the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas(loosely translated as Basketball Group of the Philippines). MVP was even called upon by Chris Webber himself to hold a majority stake (along with a Filipino group of investors) in the Sacramento Kings. MVP likes this idea as it opens up the doors for not only Filipino basketball players to finally enter the NBA, but also Filipino coaches and Filipino personnel (*cough* *pls hire me* *cough*). He was a graduate of one of the top universities in the country (my alma mater, Ateneo de Manila University). He’s the main organizer of this event and the reason why I got to see CP3 in the flesh for the first time in my life. I can’t believe that I actually saw my basketball idol CP3 in the flesh. I would have loved a hug and a picture but alas, destiny is unrelenting.

PBA Selection and Smart Gilas

The two teams that the NBA group played with were a selection of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) best players. I won’t mention their names but in order for the readers to understand who the Paul and Co. played with, I’ll compare them to some NBA players (albeit smaller and less physically gifted but similarly skilled) and include the name just for reference. The NBA group basically fought with a Filipino version of Gerald Wallace (Arwind Santos), Chris Paul (LA Tenorio and yes this is the closest comparison I can make), a young Ray Allen (James Yap), Aaron Brooks (Sol Mercado) just to name a few.

The Smart Gilas is very similar to what the USA did for their Olympic team. Smart Gilas is basically a group of amateur and collegiate standouts whose ultimate goal is to reach the 2012 London Olympics.


Specifics of the deal, such as how much did it cost in inviting the players, promotions, security etc… are not disclosed to the public. I can however approximate how much in ticket revenue the 2 exhibition game raked in. So here is a table of the total revenues raked in via ticket sales (Ticketnet):

Type of Seat Quantity of Tickets Sold Price Total
Patron 1130 5500 6,215,000
Lower Box 958 3800 3,640,400
Upper Box A 2727 1500 4,090,500
Upper Box B 4896 800 3,916,800
General Admission 5000 350 1,750,000
Total =14711 19,612,700

This off course does not include merchandise sales, promotion sales, car park, etc…

Note: 19 612 700 PHP is approximately $ 460,000

It is important to note that Patron and Lower Box tickets were not open to the public (or they planned to open it to the public only after offering it to all people who are in the upper echelon of our societies tax bracket). This is disappointing because I was willing to pay a Patron seat (at 5500 which is basically my monthly allowance) just to watch CP3 up close and personal. I could have bought a Patron ticket from a higher up person who wasn’t interested in watching (seriously, who doesn’t?!) but due to the law of supply and demand, buying tickets from a secondary source is taxing on both my pocket and my emotion (am I REALLY willing to shell out that much?). The following is a list of the approximate sales of said tickets if you bought them from a secondary source:

Type of Seat Price at Ticketnet Price from a 2nd source
Patron 5500 11000~18000
Lower Box 3800 9000~12000
Upper Box A 1500 6000~10000
Upper Box B 800 4000~8000
General Admission 350 1000~2000

As you can see, prices more than doubled. These are the times I wish I had connections in the Philippine basketball setting, as I could have gotten a Patron seat for a cheap price.

Game Proper

The Araneta Coliseum was jam packed. Although the seating capacity was 14 711, I swear, the number is much higher than that, as ticketnet sold SO (standing only) tickets hours before the game. By my estimate, the total number of people watching this game was 18000 as there were people standing on stairs (and there were lots of stairs) plus the general admissions area was packed.

The crowd was ELECTRIC when Derrick Rose and Javale Mcgee went out to shoot jumper, just to get an overall feel for the court. Then one by one, the NBA players slowly walked out. Out of the 9, only Kobe didn’t show up (maybe to up the hype). Also, the crowd was very much into the game from warm up to end of the game. Filipinos rarely see dunks (most of our players can’t dunk) so Javale Mcgee and company were happy to oblige to the implicit request. Javale, Harden and Durant threw dunk after dunk (Javale and Harden more so than Durant). Can I just say how humongous Javale looks? I mean WOW. Harden is also VERY VERY Athletic and nimble; for a 6’5” SG? WOW. I would be very happy if Harden somehow found his way to the Hornets (w/o a CP3 trade DUH).

The names of players on each team were called. Funny thing is when the PBA players were called, there wasn’t much cheering; when the NBA players were called, the arena went nuts EVERY PLAYER HAHAHA. After each team has been called words by the most famous players of each bunch had a few messages. James Yap, representing the PBA selection, had a very funny line where he said (in Tagalog): I know most of us came here to watch the NBA players play. We as well are star struck by their presence. However, we ask that you support our team, even if it’s just a little bit *chuckles*. Kobe basically, said the usual “thank you for supporting us, we love the crowd, we hope you enjoy the show, etc…”

Game started and if you followed my twitter feed (mobile data went haywire in the 2nd half), PBA got whooped in this game from start to finish as even the players were left standing (in awe off course) as Paul and company threw dunks, alley-oops, 30 ft 3 point shots (WOW I can’t believe how good a scorer KD is), more dunks and more dunks. The general feel of the game was reminiscent of a pickup game as there was no defense being played by both sides (except for some Javale McGee sky high blocks which were AWESOME to watch for a 5’8” like me HAHA). Some notes:

  • Kobe barely played in this game but he showed Filipinos twice what he’s been doing for the past 3 seasons. Kobe made 2 off the post fade away jumpers that were so elegantly set-up, I cried a little.
  • CP3 had 4 TOs which is understandable for a pickup game, what with all his showboating dribbling and between the opponents leg tricks LOL. He also had maybe 5 alley oops that made the crowd go “YEAH!!!”… I love CP3 more now that I’ve seen firsthand what he can do. I hope he stays in NOH.(not the point of this article).
  • Durant is a beast scorer, and 2nd to McGee, is he LONG. Durant was also very nimble for a guy his size as his dazzled his defenders (who were 8 inches smaller than him) and just settled for 30 ft 3 pt shots, which he still makes.
  • Rose was non-existent for the game except for a monstrous alley oop from Kobe. I must say, even though I hated that Rose won the MVP, and Filipinos knew Rose more than they knew CP3, Rose is the better athlete and physical specimen. If he gets his act together (maybe take less bad shots and more driving and dishing), he might surpass Paul.
  • Harden, McGee and Derrick Williams had lots of fun in this game. Harden was basically dancing, dunking, shooting 3 pt shots and basically showing PBA players what 6’5” NBA players can do. 6’5” PBA players are usually big men. Harden finished with 33 points. McGee basically had a tower fest and had lots of fun toying with the PBA selection with his height. At one point, McGee brought the ball down court and threw down a sick 12 ft dunk. McGee also had 4~5 towering blocks over our 5’10” ~6’2” Guards. All in All, McGee had 25 points and maybe 10 rebounds and 5 blocks. Derrick Williams is a pretty solid player – sets screens very well, moves without the ball very well, solid form and release of his jumper, and can he jump. At one point, I swear, he looked like he was going to kiss the rim. If Ryan’s suggestion of Okafor for Derrick Willams ever comes to fruition, i’ll be a happy man.
  • Tyreke was non-existent beside 2 patented “I’ll cross over from left to right making you think I’ll go for the drive but in reality I’ll settle for an off-balance step back to the left jumper”.
  • Fisher was also non-existent. It’s funny to note that Fisher tried to post our smallest guy on the court (5’10” LA Tenorio) but instead got partially blocked because he tried for a fade away jumper (he had no lift.)

I have yet to watch the 2nd game between NBA and Smart Gilas (didn’t have a ticket and my cable TV provider has not aired a replay). I didn’t have the cash to go to the 2nd game, but in all honesty, I would have loved to see the 2nd game as well. From what I can gather, the game was more serious than the exhibition game as the Smart Gilas was a more organized group (they’ve been together since 2009 I think) and as such, had set plays and defensive sets that will give NBA players without an offensive system a run for their money. I will report about that game ASAP.  Overall, I’m ecstatic about my experience. In reality, I couldn’t care less about the other 8 NBA players – all I really wanted to see was my idol CP3. I didn’t get to see him in all his greatness, but to see him do his thing in the flesh, even if he was just 5’11” (listed 6’0” but he looks 5’11” to me), makes me appreciate his talents even more than before, when in my head, he looks like a 6’1” guy. I don’t know how to post pictures, so if you have any suggestions, you can post a comment so that I can post some pictures for you guys. I’m sorry for this lengthy post and thank you for taking the time to read about my wonderful experience. Thank you MVP!


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