By Rafael Bandayrel
Last night’s game between Gilas Pilipinas and Australia at the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers captured the attention of the international basketball community after a massive (kerfuffle) put an abrupt halt to the lopsided contest.
The game was cut short as nine Gilas players were ejected after a wild free-for-all late in the third quarter, leaving only June Mar Fajardo, Gabe Norwood and Baser Amer to face the Australians, who lost four players to banishment.
Calvin Abueva, Terrence Romeo, Jayson Castro, Andray Blatche, Roger Pogoy, Troy Rosario, Japeth Aguilar, Carl Bryan Cruz and Matthew Wright were tossed with 4:01 left in the third quarter. Meanwhile, Daniel Kickert, Christopher Goulding, Nathan Sobey and Thon Maker were expelled on Australia’s side.
FIBA said it will open disciplinary proceedings, with a possible sanctions announced within the next few days.
Meanwhile, here’s a quick lookback at the events that transpired which led to the escalation of a pushing-and-shoving incident under the Gilas basket:
July 1, 5:16 AM – Brewing trouble
A day before the game, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan took to Twitter to express his disappointment with members of the Australian delegation who peeled off FIBA-approved PLDT decals from the Philippine Arena floor during practice, claiming they were slippery.
Aussie team ripping our/Fiba logos on the court of Phil Arena w/o asking permission. We will not back down. Those stickers go in. Regardless. pic.twitter.com/LMwyiBNtG4
— Manny V. Pangilinan (@iamMVP) July 1, 2018
“Aussie team ripping our/FIBA logos on the court of the Philippine Arena without asking permission,” said Pangilinan tweeted. “We will not back down. Those stickers go in. regardless.”
Game day July 2, approximately 7:00 PM – The pre-game incident
Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes said that they actually tried to restrain their players before the game but Daniel Kickert of Australia was provoking the Gilas boys even before the game started.
Later, Gilas coach Chot Reyes defended his players’ actions, saying Australia cannot play physical without expecting retaliation.
“Well it’s unfortunate, we didn’t want that to happen. It’s absolutely unacceptable. But the reality is [Daniel] Kickert was hitting our players during the warm-ups at layup line,” Reyes said. “He hit Bryan Cruz, he hit Matthew Wright, he hit [Roger] Pogoy, and he hit Calvin Abueva during the warm-ups.”
1st Quarter, 6:38 PM
Milwaukee Bucks guard Matthew Dellavedova is called for an offensive foul as he knocks down Gilas center Andray Blatche while driving to the basket.
1st Quarter, 7:16 PM
Abueva gets a defensive rebound only to give the possession up. The swingman is called for a personal foul after throwing an elbow at Angus Brandt.
2nd Quarter, 9:20
Abueva’s shot goes out of bounds and he gets shoved by Anthony Karl Drmic as they head to the other side of the floor.
2nd Quarter, 8:50
Abueva rebounds his own miss and saves the possession by slamming the ball off Drmic.
2nd Quarter, 7:19
Blatche goes straight to the hoop and floors Dellavedova in the process. The Australian is whistled for a blocking foul and is unhappy with the call.
2nd Quarter, 5:11
Fajardo hacks Nicholas Kay and gets called for reaching in.
2nd Quarter, 4:28
At this point the home team is trailing by 13 points and are desperately looking for a basket. Castro spears Dellavedova after turning the ball over on the in-bound play.
2nd Quarter, 4:02
Blatche earns a trip to the line for two shots. Goulding is visibly talking trash to Blatche who is taking his second shot.
2nd Quarter, 1:41
Fajardo pump fakes a shot and sends Goulding crashing with shoulder check. Fajardo’s basket did not count as he is called for an offensive foul. This play sent the big-man into foul trouble.
2nd Quarter, 1:00
Aguilar stole the ball from Maker and raced to the basket. Maker prevented Japeth from scoring by fouling him forcefully.
2nd Quarter, 1:00
Aguilar steals the ball from Maker and races to the basket. Maker prevents Japeth from scoring by fouling him forcefully.
2nd Quarter, 0:26
Blatche bulldozes Brandt on his way to the rim. The Aussie big-man was slow to get up but officials award the possession to Gilas.
2nd Quarter, 0:09
“The Blur” attempts to slash for a bucket but he loses the ball out of bounds when Kevin Lisch smacks his arm. Castro is complaining to the officials, asking for a foul.
3rd Quarter, 9:14
Norwood steals the ball by initiating solid contact on Goulding.
3rd Quarter, 8:50
Maker is seeking a blocking foul on Blatche. No call is made even after the Sudanese crashed onto the hardwood.
3rd Quarter, 7:46
Dellavedova throws a lob pass from half court to Maker for an alley-oop slam. Adding insult to injury, Maker bumps his defender Pogoy after the play.
3rd Quarter, 7:29
Goulding continues running his mouth while Pogoy is on the charity stripe. The Filipino gets confrontational after taking his first shot. Referees give both men technical fouls for the heated argument.
3rd Quarter, 6:59
Blatche gets gets tangled up with Dellavedova while trying to steal the ball. The ex-NBA big-man gets whistled for a foul.
3rd Quarter, 6:02
Castro fumbles the ball from Goulding’s hands as he comes at the Australian aggressively. Castro is called for a personal foul.
3rd Quarter, 5:13
Tension is heightened as Kickert decks Pogoy with a blunt push. Pogoy pulls Kickert by the leg, bringing the Boomer to the floor with him.
3rd Quarter, 5:07
Goulding collides with Pogoy who was running towards the Philippines’ basket. Goulding is frustrated with the no-call.
3rd Quarter, 4:01
What follows is the sequence that ignites the rumble. Pogoy floors Goulding with an elbow thrust to the body. Kickert retaliates by intentionally hurling an elbow onto the guard.
Blatche sees the hit and rushes to Pogoy’s aid.
The rest is, of course, is rumbling history.