Milwaukee Bucks guard Matthew Dellavedova said he expected a hostile crowd at the Philippine Arena for Monday’s FIBA World Cup Asian qualifier between Australia and the Philippines, but this probably wasn’t what he had in mind.
With four minutes remaining in the third quarter and Dellavedova’s Boomers leading, 79-48, the Philippines’ Roger Ray Pogoy shoved Australia’s Chris Goulding to the floor. Australia big man Daniel Kickert retaliated by leveling Pogoy with an elbow to the face, precipitating an all-out brawl that featured several punches, flying kicks, a thrown chair and, eventually, 13 ejections.
Jayson Castro and Andray Blatche, who played the first seven years of his nine-year NBA career with the Washington Wizards, charged after Kickert, while Thon Maker, who played the past two seasons for the Bucks, came to his Australian teammate’s defense with a couple of flying kicks. The brawl spilled over to the sidelines, where Australia’s Nathan Sobey was hit with a flying chair. While the Filipino bench emptied, coaches on the Australian bench kept Australia’s reserves from joining the fray.
After things eventually settled down, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio addressed the crowd.
“We didn’t want what happened to happen,” Panlilio said, via ESPN. “We are hosting this game, and this is basketball. At the end of this we will await for the referees’ decision. Please respect the game and make our visitors safe in the arena. We will continue the game. Let’s show respect to our friends from Australia. Let’s respect also the decision that will come out from the referees.”
Olgun Uluc of Fox Sports Australia reported that officials reviewed the incident for more than half an hour before returning to the court flanked by police. Four Aussies — Goulding, Kickert, Sobey and Maker — were ejected from the game. The nine Filipino players tossed were Blatche, Castro, Pogoy, Japeth Aguilar, Jeth Rosario, Terrence Bill Romeo, Matthew Wright, Calvin Abueva and Carl Bryan Cruz.
The ejections left the Philippines with only three players, including Gabe Norwood, a guard on the George Mason team that advanced to the 2006 Final Four, but the game continued anyway. After Norwood and teammate June Mar Fajardo fouled out, leaving the Philippines with one player, the game was called with 1:57 to play in the third quarter.
Basketball Australia CEO Anthony Moore issued a statement following the Aussies’ 89-53 win.
“Basketball Australia deeply regrets the incident in tonight’s match between the Boomers and the Philippines in Manila,” Moore said. “We are extremely disappointed with what happened and our role in it.”
FIBA issued a statement saying that it will “open disciplinary proceedings against both teams” and an announcement about any further discipline will be made in the coming days.
This post has been updated.
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