Gilas-Australian game brawl unfortunate, unsportsmanlike, says Roque
Malacanang said on Tuesday it was "unfortunate" a brawl broke out during the game between Gilas Pilipinas and Australia at the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers on Monday.
In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said what happened was "the height of being unsportsmanlike."
"But at the same time, we appreciate that it’s something that we have to be sorry about because it should never have happened. But all we are saying is we empathize somehow with the feelings of our fellow Filipinos, which is not to justify their conduct," he said.
With Australia ahead 79-48 and four minutes left in the third quarter, there was physical contact between Roger Ray Pogoy and Daniel Goulding of Australia. Then Australian Daniel Kickert elbowed Pogoy, triggering the fracas.
Some Filipino fans watching the game at the Philippine Arena in Boacaue, Bulacan also joined by throwing bottles of water on the court.
A total of 13 players from both sides were ejected. Australia won, 89-53 after the three remaining Filipinos fouled out. Despite the loss, the Philippines qualified to the next round.
Roque said the referees should have immediately called a foul when Kickert elbowed the face of Pogoy.
"We do not justify the conduct of our Filipino players. All we are saying is, well it was a regretful incident and it should not happen. And in the 52 years I’ve spent in this existence, that’s the worst I’ve seen at least here in the Philippines. We see that in other countries but really not in the Philippines," Roque said.
FIBA, the ruling body for world basketball, said in its Twitter account it has begun disciplinary proceedings against the Philippines and Australia. "The decision (s) will be communicated in the coming days," it said.
With the sanctions to be meted out by FIBA against Gilas, he expressed hope that the Filipino players, "as true sportsmen, will honor whatever the decision of FIBA will be graciously."
He said next time, there should be "better referees" who would immediately intervene if any player would commit a foul.
"I know it was a fast-paced game but the whistle should have been blown and the game should have been stopped from the very first instance that there was a foul committed," he said.
In its Twitter account, the Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas "apologizes to the Filipino basketball fans and to the basketball community."
"We will review the incident comprehensively and await the decision of FIBA withj respect to disciplinary proceedings on the matter," it said. Celerina Monte/DMS