MANILA, Philippines – Former Gilas Pilipinas standout Marc Pingris has apologized for taking a selfie in the wake of the brawl between the Philippines and Australia last Monday.
The melee stopped the FIBA World Cup Asian qualifier between Gilas and the Boomers, as officials spent some 30 minutes determining sanctions for both squads.
During the prolonged break, Pingris called on the Gilas players for a selfie – an action that sparked widespread criticism.
Former NBA player Andrew Bogut was in disbelief, and even some Filipinos hit out at the seemingly flippant response to what was clearly a very serious incident.
The chief executive of Basketball Austria, Anthony Moore, said it was “pretty odd” for the Gilas players to have taken the picture.
“To be in a position where you've been in a major altercation and to be seemingly enjoying the moment, I found that very strange,” he added.
On Instagram, Pingris formally apologized for his action, saying that while he meant no disrespect, “I realized that the timing was inappropriate.”
“This unfortunate incident has taught me a valuable life lesson,” he added. “I will do my best to conduct myself better, especially in my support of the Gilas Pilipinas National Team.”
Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes said that had he seen Pingris, he would have stopped the player from taking the selfie as it was bound to be misinterpreted.
However, he also noted that it was just the PBA veteran’s way of diffusing a very tense situation.
“That's his personality, he always likes to interject a lot of humor and kengkoy and stuff into the team. And it always happens even in tense situations during our practice or in games,” Reyes said.
“You know he's the most intense guy, but he's also the most fun.”
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