MANILA, Philippines – The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) has formally apologized for the brawl that occurred between the Philippines and Australia during a FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifier last Monday night at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
SBP president Al Panlilio posted a statement on Twitter, where the organization apologized to "Filipino basketball fans and to the basketball community that occurred during last night’s game.”
“As hosts, we regret having breached the bounds of traditional Filipino hospitality,” the SBP said. “As the national team representing flag and country, we likewise extend our apologies to the Filipino people.”
“SBP stands by its conviction that violence has no place in sports.”
The lopsided game devolved into a free-for-all with four minutes left in the third quarter, when Roger Pogoy committed a hard foul on Australia’s Chris Goulding that prompted Boomer forward Daniel Kickert to retaliate with a blindside hit on Pogoy.
The Gilas players were quick to respond, with Jayson Castro memorably launching himself off the floor for a punch at Kickert while Andray Blatche shoved other Australian players.
Australia’s Thon Maker got involved, launching flying kicks at Gilas players including Terrence Romeo. Several other Filipinos also rushed the court, including those who were not even activated for the game such as Allein Maliksi and Jio Jalalon.
Notably, it was just Meralco’s Baser Amer who did not enter the court. He was one of three Gilas players not to get ejected, along with Gabe Norwood and June Mar Fajardo.
Australia went on to win by default with a score of 89-53 with a minute and 57 seconds left in the third quarter.
After the match, FIBA announced that it had opened disciplinary proceedings against both teams, and Australia said it will await sanctions from the organization.
SBP, in its statement, said it also intends to “review the incident comprehensively and await the decision of FIBA with respect to the disciplinary proceedings on the matter.”
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