MANILA, Philippines—One of the most infamous nights in the history of Philippine sports has forever been captured in a photo on Marc Pingris’ cellphone.
The former Gilas Pilipinas standout took a selfie with current national team players in the wake of an awful brawl with members of the visiting Australian basketball team on Monday night at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
It was an act that immediately drew criticism, with former NBA player Andrew Bogut expressing his disbelief on Twitter.
“Blokes taking a team selfie after all that,” he said. “Down 31. Yep. They really just took a team selfie.”
Indeed, it was quite a sight to see the Gilas players pose for a picture with Pingris, mere moments after they had been rushing the court to exchange punches and shoves with the Boomers. Even other Filipinos on social media questioned Pingris’ actions.
Quinito Henson, who called the game on ESPN 5, came to Pingris’ defense on Tuesday on "SportsCenter" and insisted that the veteran forward only sought to defuse the tension.
Agreeing with Henson was Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes, who also stressed that Pingris remains “part of the Gilas family.”
“If you know Ping, like Quinito said, that's his personality, he always likes to interject a lot of humor and kengkoy and stuff into the team,” Reyes said.
“And it always happens even in tense situations during our practice or in games. You know he's the most intense guy, but he's also the most fun.”
However, the coach did say that it was perhaps not the best thing to do at the moment, given how people have responded to it.
“If I saw it, I would have stopped it maybe so that there would be no misinterpretation,” Reyes admitted.
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