SBP President says ‘very weak crew’ officiated Gilas-Australia game

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Photo courtesy: FIBA

Updated to include the status of the Australian players.

Bocaue, Bulacan (CNN Philippines, July 2) — An on-court brawl broke out resulting to the ejection of 13 players during the match between the Philippines and Australia in the third window of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers.

It started at the 4:01 mark of the third quarter with the Philippines down by a huge deficit, 79-48. Filipino cager RR Pogoy pushed Australian Chris Goulding on a drive that led to the retaliation of Daniel Kickert which ignited the fight.

The Australians won by default, 89-53, Monday at the Philippine Arena. Baser Amer was the last man standing for Gilas at the final buzzer.

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

For Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas President Al Panlilio, the officials could have controlled the game better.

"It was a very physical game from the very start. It's unfortunate the referees were not able to handle and control the game," he told CNN Philippines moments after the contest. “I think we had a very weak crew that officiated the game."

"I think at the end of the day, it's the players really wanting to win.

Australia coming off a loss to Japan, for sure they don't want to lose again. The Philippines from a high, off from a good game in Taipei, not also wanting to lose on our home ground," he added.

Panlilio said the root of this melee was the incident yesterday when some members of the Australian team removed stickers from the Philippine Arena basketball court without asking for permission from local organizing committee or FIBA.

"There was an incident last night about the stickers, although Australia basketball has apologized for it, I personally feel it was uncalled for. It was very arrogant for them to do that. Disrespectful actually for us. We were compliant with FIBA rules. It started from there,” he said.

The SBP President was proud with how the Gilas players gave their hearts to the game.

"We showed we are a force to reckon with. We just have to continue the program, continue to improve, and looking forward to the next round," he said.

"I'm very proud of them. They refused to be pushed around and bullied."

Chief Executive of Basketball Australia Anthony Moore, meanwhile issued a statement regarding the ugly event.

“Basketball Australia deeply regrets the incident in tonight’s match between the Boomers and the Philippines in Manila. We are extremely disappointed with what happened and our role in it,” he said.

“This is not the spirit in which sport should be played and certainly not in the spirit in which we aim to play basketball. We apologise to our fans and will await the penalties to be handed down.”

Basketball Australia confirmed its players are also doing "safe and well" in a tweet.

In another statement, FIBA said it will open disciplinary proceedings against both teams and that the decision will be communicated in the coming days.