The Gilas Pilipinas team manager on Tuesday said basketball officials are in wait-and-see mode, as FIBA investigates the melee that broke out in the qualifying game on Monday between the Philippines and Australia for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
Butch Antonio said there is plenty of speculation over what type of sanctions will be slapped on the team, but acknowledged nobody knows how the probe will turn out.
“Maraming kuro-kuro. Maraming pinag-uusapan — possible sanctions . . . It can be game suspensions, fines, penalties, reprimands but I guess what’s best to do now is to wait for the decisions made by FIBA based on what they know. And from whatever they come up with, we can also act accordingly,” Antonio said during the customary thanksgiving Gilas team dinner held in Ortigas.
“If we have to appeal or agree to stuff that they have meted on the team, the federation, a player or an official, we’ll take it from there.
“So wala pang firm. Ang ine-explain sa akin kanina, the lightest might be a reprimand but the harshest can be outright suspensions for a number of games for players or whoever they think participated (in the brawl). Depende na iyon sa FIBA.”
ABS-CBN News sports analyst Boyet Sison said that, if FIBA bans players found culpable during the riot, it would deal a significant blow to Gilas’ campaign when the next round of qualifiers comes around in September.
Gilas will play Iran to begin the next round.
“Ang potensyal po n’yan, kung magpapataw ng suspensyon ang FIBA, ang mga manlalarong (nakasali sa away) hindi pupwede sa September 13. Ang mangyayari po nyan, kailangang maglalagay ng bagong players into your lineup,” Sison said in an interview on DZMM’s "SRO" program on Tuesday.
Nine Gilas players, along with 4 Australians, were ejected from the game. Calvin Abueva, Japeth Aguilar, Andray Blatche, Jayson Castro, Carl Bryan Cruz, Roger Pogoy, Terrence Romeo, Troy Rosario and Matthew Wright were all banished from the game won by Australia via default.
Sison said players could face “one game suspension at the very least, it can go high depending on the severity.”
He added that it could also affect the Philippines hosting of the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
“Ang opinyon ng ibang tao ay ito: ‘Pag sinabi ng Australia ayaw kong sumali d’yan dahil baka mabugbog kami at mandamay ng ibang mga bansa na oo nga ayaw kong malagay sa alanganin ang mga manlalaro namin sa World Cup ng 2023,” he said.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)