MANILA, Philippines—Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes said Thursday that he respects the sanctions meted upon him by FIBA, even as he insists that he did nothing to “incite unsportsmanlike behavior” among his players.
Reyes was suspended for one game and fined 10,000 Swiss francs (roughly P535,000) by FIBA for his role in the brawl between Gilas Pilipinas and the Australian national basketball team last July 2 at the Philippine Arena.
Reyes will serve the suspension in the first game of the second round of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers against Iran on September 13.
“The SBP has released its statement on the FIBA decision, and I stand with our national federation in respecting FIBA’s findings,” Reyes said in a statement released on social media Thursday night.
However, Reyes made it clear that he did not “incite unsportsmanlike behavior.”
Reyes had been caught on video exhorting the Gilas players to “hit somebody” during a timeout ahead of the pivotal brawl, which he explained was part of basketball lingo and not a direct instruction on his part.
“I have never given instructions to hurt nor incite unsportsmanlike behavior,” Reyes said in his statement. “In my 20 years as head coach in the PBA and seven years at the helm of Gilas, I have never been involved in any such incident.”
Regardless, Reyes expressed his regret for what happened against Australia.
“I . . . again apologize together with our players and staff,” he said. “As we work to put all this behind us, we reiterate our commitment to serve our flag.”
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas has yet to announce a replacement for Reyes in Gilas’ game against Iran.
Aside from Reyes, also sanctioned was assistant coach Jong Uichico, who joined in the brawl and was seen throwing punches at Australia’s Chris Goulding. Uichico was slapped with a three-game ban.
Ten Gilas Pilipinas players will also serve suspensions ranging from one game to six games.
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