‘Daniel Kickert on the brawl: It’s a regrettable situation’
(UPDATED) NBA champion and current Australia basketball team assistant coach Luc Longley is blaming Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes for allowing their game on Monday night to devolve into violence.
“I believe their coach incited them to come out and ‘thug’ us,” Longley said in an article posted on News.com.au website as the Boomers national basketball team arrived in their country Tuesday.
“Letting his team take gangster selfies on the baseline shows how much he lost control.”
Reyes has said he didn’t see the selfie being taken, but if he did he “would have stopped it.”
Reyes said he tried to calm his players down, but they became so worked up it was hard doing so.
Daniel Moldovan, the agent of Boomers shooting guard Chris Goulding, is considering a lawsuit pending an investigation by FIBA, the sport’s world-governing body.
“If FIBA’s response isn’t adequate, I’m going to pursue my own legal avenues to protect my client,” Moldovan said in an Australian radio program.
“Serious measures need to put in place before I comfortably send players to these environments again.”
Daniel Kickert, whose violent forearm to RR Pogoy’s face in the third quarter led to the dustup and the game going haywire, acknowledged his action was extreme.
“It’s a regrettable situation, I was put in a situation where I made an action which is regrettable and unfortunate,” the Australia forward said.
“I think I’ve overstepped a little with my response to the escalation in the game and I regret those things.”
Selfie was ‘pretty odd’ given situation
Anthony Moore, CEO of Basketball Australia, the country’s national governing for the sport, on Monday stopped short of saying that the Kickert hit was unjustifiable.
“It’s a challenging one to defend. It’s an unsavory act. That’s something that’ll be addressed through FIBA’s review but our primary concern was the welfare for our players,” Moore said, one of several issues he touched on during a media conference livestreamed on Facebook Tuesday morning.
He also commented on the version of events by Reyes and Gilas players, who alleged that Kickert and some of his teammates were taunting them during the warmups.
“We absolutely refute that. It’s a conversation we had with team management. That’s something that we absolutely believe didn’t occur and that’ll come out as part of the tribunal process,” Moore said.
Regarding the controversial group selfie, taken by former Gilas player Marc Pingris with the rest of the team, a gesture that has gone viral on social media and has been condemned, Moore said: “That was pretty odd to be in a position where you’ve been in a major altercation and then to be seemingly enjoying the moment, I found that very strange.”
Moore said he had just flown in from Japan, where Australia played its penultimate Group B game on Friday, prior to watching the Philippines game.
The violence unsettled him, he said.
“It was absolutely alarming when you see a congregation of players at the end of the court and you’re saying, ‘Is one of our guys actually under there?’ ” Moore said.
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.