Ripping up decals not 'smart' by Boomers

Vince Rugari
Basketball Australia CEO Anthony Moore has denied claims the Boomers sparked tensions pre-match

Basketball Australia CEO Anthony Moore admits it "wasn't the smartest move" by team officials to remove floor decals from the arena that hosted their World Cup qualifier in the Philippines - and the all-in brawl that followed.

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.

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.

"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."

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.