Senator Sonny Angara has the Gilas Pilipinas players’ backs.
In a statement, the SBP chairman said that it was an unfortunate incident but that the players’ adverse reactions after seeing their teammates get hit is a “universal reaction” that is part of the sport.
“It was an unfortunate event but I stand by the Gilas team on this. One may criticize how the game ended, but the true test of a fan is to stick with his team win or lose, through thick and thin,” he said in the statement.
“In the heat of the moment, the players on both sides had to stand up for each other. It is not only a universal human reaction in a team sport, but for those who have played the game, looking after each other is part of the brotherhood among team members,” he continued.
But he did emphasize that players involved in the fray should be disciplined in respect to the game.
“Sanctions must be meted out, apologies extended as true sportsmen would, nonplayers who joined the melee should be punished, and above all, lessons learned so that this should not happen again,” he added.
He even hit the officiating and rued that officials could have helped avoid the situation from escalating further.
“It was unfortunate that things got out of hand. It could have been prevented if the referees had tightened officiating to better control the game,” Angara said.
Nine Filipino players were ejected from the brawl, leaving only June Mar Fajardo, Gabe Norwood and Baser Amer to contend against Australia for the remainder of the game.
The Boomers won by default, 89-53.
“We would like to reassure the world that is an isolated event and Filipinos remain the most hospitable race, in and out of the court, as millions of visitors who visit us annually would attest,” the senator said.