Fireworks of a different kind were set off last night at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue.
A brawl between members of Gilas Pilipinas and the Australian Boomers broke out during their 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifying match inside the famed Bulacan venue.
A Daniel Kickert forearm hit on Roger Pogoy sparked the melee at the 4:02 mark of the third quarter. Tempers flared and punches, kicks and foreign objects flew, resulting to the game ‘s suspension and the ejection of 13 players. The abbreviated game resulted to an 89-53 victory for Australia.
The Digital Ambassadors of FOX Sports Philippines weighed in on what transpired during the unfortunate incident:
- Given the situation and circumstances that surrounded the game against Australia, was the melee something that could have been prevented?
Jordan Samar: The melee could’ve been prevented if the referees (and even the coaches) stepped in and asserted themselves. After all, the referees’ primary job is to ensure that the rules of the game are to be adhered by the participants while acting as a mediator/arbitrator for both teams.
Voltaire Lozada: It’s easy to say yes looking from the outside. However, with adrenaline on a high, the crowd pumped, and the compounded events from the sticker-removal incident, the pre-game tension, and the physicality of the game, I guess you couldn’t expect the guys on the floor to restrain themselves at the moment. The guys off of it though, is a different story.
Raymond Olgado: Yes. The referees should have called the game tighter. You can smell trouble brewing in the early goings of the game. On the coaching side of things, they should have reminded the players of the bigger picture, of the what is at stake.
Jonas Reyes: It could have been prevented if there were more cooler heads than hotheads in that court. Everyone was hitting everything that moved and wearing a different color. The altercation happened so fast and so many individuals involved that security personnel had so much ground to cover.
- Which of the personalities in the brawl stood out for you?
Jordan Samar: More than anything, the personalities that stood out to me were the Gilas trio that were left after the altercation – Baser Amer, June Mar Fajardo and Gabe Norwood. They showed that having a cooler head always prevails above all else.
Voltaire Lozada: Jayson Castro’s superman punch was out of character. Meanwhile, Terrence Romeo’s nifty crossover on Thon Maker’s kick and his subsequent tweet are all too “bro.” Still love both guys.
Raymond Olgado: Jayson Castro. When he threw the first punch, you know things are going to escalate – fast. Allein Maliksi, the dude was trying out for Team Lakay. Jong Uichico, he’s your favorite uncle that has your back always. June Mar Fajardo, call him what you want but he saw the bigger picture in the middle of chaos. He was inches away from the first clash but chose to walk away.
Jonas Reyes: In times like these, you look for Calvin Abueva. You simply cannot predict what he can do in these situations. I thought Calvin would go at it with Thon Maker after that missed kick on Terrence Romeo.
- What could be the penalties or repercussions of this fracas to the Gilas Pilipinas program and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP)?
Jordan Samar: Given the history of how FIBA handles these incidents, I would be a bit surprised if the board decided to give out a Kiefer Ravena-like sanction. The show must go on but expect more dialogues to happen in the foreseeable future.
Voltaire Lozada: I hope it’s nothing long term. We already lost Kiefer Ravena for two years, it would be a tough pill to swallow if a lot more players or if the whole team is penalized for an extended period. I mean, it might be fair given the gravity of what happened, but it will be really disappointing to be dropped from the competition because of this.
Raymond Olgado: One game suspension for players who were supposed to be on the playing court. Two game suspensions for players who came off the bench. Coach Jong would probably get a longer suspension – he was supposed to be a voice of reason in this circumstance. Also he had a chair with him. Hopefully this will not affect our 2023 FIBA World Cup hosting. But some people will push their own agenda to take this away from us.
Jonas Reyes: Possible suspension awaits players from both teams. With the next window of FIBA World Cup set on September, the lineups of the Philippines and Australia would surely be hit with absence of key players. Hope that this not affect our hosting for the 2023 FIBA World Cup. The world governing body for basketball will have a watchful eye on our country for future events.