Angry Philippines officials have slammed Australia over a “disrespectful” act that may have contributed to a wild brawl that’s stained the sport of basketball.
An ugly all-in brawl marred Australia’s FIBA World Cup qualifying win over the Philippines in Bulacan.
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Tensions boiled over with four minutes remaining in the third quarter when players and officials from both sides, plus a number of unruly fans, flooded the court at the Philippine Arena on Monday night.
The Boomers were cruising to victory with a 79-48 lead when Philippines guard Roger Pogoy suddenly lashed out at Chris Goulding with an errant elbow.
Teammate Daniel Kickert’s aggressive retaliation on Pogoy then sparked an all-in brawl that included punches, elbows, kicks and objects hurled at players.
However, it was an incident involving Australia’s team in the build-up to the match, that could explain some of the pent-up anger between the teams.
The Boomers may have unwittingly riled the hosts by peeling off advertising stickers from the court that players had slipped on the day before the game.
Basketball Australia CEO Anthony Moore admits it “wasn’t the smartest move” by team officials to remove the decals without any permission to do so.
The decision clearly got under the skin of the SBP, the governing body for basketball in the Philippines.
Manny V. Pangilinan, a Filipino businessman and former president of the SBP who sits on FIBA’s Central Board, posted footage of the incident on Sunday.
His video is at the top of the page.
“Aussie team ripping our/Fiba logos on the court of Phil Arena w/o asking permission. We will not back down,” he tweeted.
“Those stickers go in. Regardless.
“Not in our House.”
Saan dyan yung word na ‘approved’? pic.twitter.com/qKQ1oIVknq
— 𝕯𝖆𝖓𝖙𝖊 𝕿𝖍𝖚𝖓𝖉𝖊𝖗𝖘𝖙𝖔𝖓𝖊 (@justeanapay) July 1, 2018
Philippines coach Chot Reyes also wasn’t happy, saying the stickers were FIBA approved and that the Boomers had acted disrespectfully.
“Besides, we’ve played in other venues w similar decals,” Reyes tweeted.
“Secondly, IF, & that’s a big IF, it did indeed make the floor slippery, they had no right to just rip the decals and deface OUR floor.
“There were SBP/FIBA officials in venue #basicdecency”
Moore revealed on Monday that Basketball Australia made a swift apology said it their actions could not be used as an excuse for player-on-player violence.
“We trained, had numerous players fall and fall heavily and our team management undertook a course of action that we actually apologised for. We ripped the decals up,” he said.
“That wasn’t the smartest move we made.
“There’s no doubt that heightened the issue, but that was more from an administrator, federation-to-federation part as opposed to players.”
Moore also denied allegations from Reyes that Daniel Kickert hit four Filipino players in the warm-up, further straining tensions between the two teams.
“We absolutely refute that. It’s a conversation we’ve had with team management,” he said.
Meanwhile, Moore – like many observers – was left puzzled by the actions of the Philippines team straight after the fighting stopped.
As FIBA officials took stock and deliberated over whether the game should continue, several Filipino players gathered to take a group selfie.
“I thought it 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,” he said.