by Jonas Terrado
BOCAUE, Bulacan – Australia’s national basketball federation apologized for the massive brawl between its team and Gilas Pilipinas in the third quarter of Monday’s FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers match at the Philippine Arena here.
Basketball Australia Chief Executive Anthony Moore expressed regret over the incident that happened with 4:01 left in the third quarter and the Boomers ahead 79-48, resulting in the ejection of nine Gilas players and five from the visiting squad.
“Basketball Australia deeply regrets the incident in tonight’s match between the Boomers and the Philippines,” Moore said in a statement. “We are extremely disappointed with what happened and our role in it.
“This is not the spirit in which sport should be played and certainly not in the spirit in which we aim to play basketball. We apologize to our fans and will await the penalties to be handed down,” added Moore.
Gilas members claimed that Boomers big man Daniel Kickert was hitting opposing players during the pregame warm-ups, starting a series of events that led to the fight.
Kickert elbowed Pogoy to the cheek, prompting Gilas players, coaches and supporters to rush into the scene.
FIBA, through its Twitter account for media releases @FIBA_media, said it already opened disciplinary proceedings against the two sides.
“Following the incident that occurred in the third quarter of the Philippines-Australia game on Monday in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Asian Qualifiers, FIBA will now open disciplinary proceedings against both teams. The decision(s) will be communicated in the coming days,” FIBA said.