MANILA, Philippines — It was not just the players who got involved in Monday night’s awful brawl between Gilas Pilipinas and Australia during a FIBA World Cup Asian qualifier.
Also jumping into the fray was Gilas Pilipinas assistant coach Jong Uichico, who was among those who landed punches on Australian players during the melee that occurred in the third quarter of the game at the Philippine Arena.
While most of the attention was on the players, Uichico’s role in the fracas soon came to light and the coach was also roundly criticized.
The usually mild-mannered Uichico, a longtime member of Chot Reyes’s coaching staff, acknowledged his error and apologized through social media.
“Tonight, my emotions got the better of me like a father who cares about his sons,” Uichico said in a tweet.
“That does not excuse my actions and I apologize to everyone as in hindsight I should have not gotten involved. This is a painful but maybe necessary lesson for me,” he added.
Not all of the reactions to Uichico’s actions were negative, however. Some fans on social media lauded the former TNT coach for standing up for his players against the Aussies.
Still, Uichico’s actions will surely be taken under consideration by FIBA, which has already opened disciplinary proceedings on both countries for the incident.
Australia won the game by default, 89-53, with 1:57 left in the third quarter. A total of 13 players — nine Filipinos and four Australians — were thrown out of the game.
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