SBP accepts FIBA decision on Gilas-Australia brawl: 'It could've been worse'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 19) — The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, Inc. (SBP) welcomed the FIBA's decision on the Philippines-Australia brawl that happened earlier this month.

FIBA suspended 10 Filipino players plus two of its coaching staff and three Australian cagers for their involvement in the ugly incident.

READ: FIBA suspends 13 players, coaching staff involved in Gilas-Australia brawl

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SBP President Al Panlilio said they will study the ruling thoroughly before making a decision.

"SBP accepts the disciplinary panel's decision and extends its appreciation to the panel for its work," he said Thursday. "The SBP is in the process of carefully reviewing it."

The SBP President commended the international basketball governing body for being fair. He felt relieved that it did not reach heavier penalties.

"Honestly, FIBA was quite fair with the process except we want to clarify some things. It could've been much worse," he said.

The free-for-all on-court melee took place at the third window game between the two countries in the World Cup qualifiers. It happened at the 4:01 mark of the third quarter with the Philippines trailing, 79-48.

The Australians won by default, 89-53, last July 2 held at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan, north or Manila.

READ: Australia beats Gilas by default after fight-marred match

Panlilio made it clear that the sanctions only cover the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian qualifying matches and will not affect the players' participation in the Philippine Basketball Association.

"The PBA is not affected, it's practically the next three windows of the second round," he clarified.

With Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes slapped with a one-game suspension, Panlilio said they are not yet in the process of choosing his replacement.

"None, it's still ongoing. That's something we need to talk and think about to make the decision," he said.

Meanwhile, the pool of players who will take the place of those who are suspended is still up in the air.

"We have not come up with the list of names that will be put in the pool. But in due time we will come up with the pool," Panlilio said.

Under the decision, the Philippines will play its next home game behind closed doors, while a ban for two more home games have been placed under a probationary period of three years.

The Filipinos' next assignment is Iran on September 13, while its next home game is gainst Qatar on September 17.

Panlilio assured the public they will uphold the highest standard as host in future FIBA-sanctioned games.

"We wish to assure our countrymen and FIBA that we will work to raise our hosting standards to a higher level as befits to the traditional hospitality accorded to guests by our people," he said.

The Philippines is currently at third place in Group F with a 4-2 win-loss record in the FIBA World Cup Asian qualifying tournament.

ALSO READ: Referees in Gilas-Australia brawl banned for a year