NBA to close stores in basketball-crazy Philippines 

Children play basketball along railroad tracks bounded by shanty houses in Manila. (Photo: Jay Directo)

It seems that even the Filipinos’ undying love for basketball wasn’t enough to keep the NBA’s local stores alive and kicking.

NBA Philippines announced the closures in a Facebook post yesterday where it also thanked fans.

The NBA Stores in SM Megamall and Ayala Cebu will be closed as of Aug. 12 and Aug. 15, 2018 respectively, while NBA…

Posted by NBA Philippines on Wednesday, August 8, 2018

According to the post, the NBA Store in SM Megamall will close on Aug. 12, Sunday. The branch in Ayala Cebu will stop operations on Aug. 15, Wednesday, while the one in TriNoma will close on Aug. 30, Thursday.

Apart from its physical locations, its website will also shut down on Aug. 30.

The NBA Store sells official merchandise from the league’s teams and was welcomed with much fanfare when its first branch in the country opened in 2014. This opening followed that of the NBA Cafe in SM Aura, which has also closed.

While the rest of the region is more into football, the Philippines is very clearly a basketball country.

Passions run high whenever it’s The Finals, so much so that in June, a man ended up killing his cousin after a heated discussion over a game’s results.

According to the NBA Store’s statement, their closure was brought about by the “conclusion of our agreement with our retail operator.”

However, commenters said that the store was probably unsuccessful because many could not afford its high prices.

Facebook user Gian Rein Dionisio said: “Because no one can afford what u sell. Maybe try to make it cheaper.”

Sonnie Loyola had similar thoughts. “2 words. Very expensive,” he said.

Ramon Naui said other factors could’ve also contributed to the closure.

He said: “Poor marketing, lack of merchandise replenishment and people tend to settle for fake or counterfeit items, did it.”

Some Filpino fans certainly buy authentic NBA merchandise but they’re a small percentage of the population.

The masses — who are arguably more dedicated fans — can’t afford to buy the merchandise even if they wanted to. And in a country where knock-offs are readily available in street markets, many don’t find any reason to have to — just look at all the people in the streets walking around in Lebron jerseys.

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