The Philippine Basketball Association yesterday sued Gulf Air in connection with the shabby treatment that Talk ‘N Text players and staff received from the international airline during their trip back home from Dubai two years ago.
PBA legal counsel Melvin Mendoza said the pro league took legal action after the Bahrain-based carrier failed to issue an explanation why the confirmed bookings of the 19 players and officials for their return flight to Manila on July 2, 2011 were canceled without prior notice.
“We have written them several demand letters but up to this time the airline company has not yet given a satisfactory explanation,’’ said Mendoza.
PBA Commissioner Chito Salud filed the case in behalf of Talk ‘N Text, which played in Dubai against Barangay Ginebra and Barako Bull to entertain overseas Filipino workers there.
Mendoza said the players and officials of TNT went to the check-in counter of Dubai airport at least three hours ahead of the scheduled flight only to be informed that their trip was canceled. Some of the players took a chance to get a booking from other airlines while the rest spent the night in a nearby hotel to catch a flight the following day.
Mendoza said Gulf Air blatantly violated the contract of carriage and transportation after canceling the confirmed flights of the group, which is seeking actual, moral and other damages that would exceed P12 million.
The players and officials who were stranded were Aaron Aban, Jimmy Alapag, Richard Alvarez, Dexter Aseron, Harvey Carey, Jayson Castro, Ranidel de Ocampo, Larry Fonacier, Gilbert Lao, Rolando Lazano, Emmerson Oreta, Albert Henry Peek, Raoul Cesar Racela, Ferdinand Ravena Jr., Joshua Vincent Reyes, Ryan Jay Reyes, Rogelio Tulabot, Kelly Williams and Mark Yee.
“This case against Gulf Air was filed not just to vindicate the rights and interests of PLDT’s team, but more importantly to uphold the good name and reputation of the entire membership of the PBA,’’ said Salud.
The harrowing experience was totally unexpected for the Talk N Text players and staff, who didn’t encounter any problem when they left Manila for Dubai.