A friendly competitive match between the Philippines’ Gilas Pilipinas and Australia’s Boomers turned into a massive bench-clearing brawl as members of the two teams exchange punches and kicks.
The fight occurred during the third quarter of the Gilas vs. Boomers game on Monday night at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
The Boomers took a comfortable lead 79-48 with only four minutes left on the clock when Roger Ray “RR” Pogoy from the Philippines team and Australian basketball player Chris Goulding sparked a melee, according to Spin PH.
Pogoy played roughly against the defending player, an obvious offensive foul as seen in the video above. The tension was high between the two teams even before the official matchup as trash-talking and insults were flung around from both sides.
After noticing the foul, Australian player Daniel Kickert immediately rushed to Pogoy and knocked him down to the floor with an elbow to the face.
The Gilas players did not take the attack lightly as they chased Kickert down with punches and pushed him off the basketball court.
That’s when the scuffle turned into a massive brawl.
Thon Maker, the center player for the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, who was playing for the Australian national team, joined in and tried to fly kick Terrence Romeo of Gilas.
Security at the Philippine Arena managed to separate the teams after more than a minute of exchanging punches and kicks.
“I just want to appeal to everybody to settle down. We’re hosting this game and this is basketball. Please respect the game and make our visitors feel safe in the arena,” Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio said while speaking on a PA system to calm the crowd and players.
Meanwhile, referees were escorted outside of the arena after the incident and lengthy delay. They returned about 40 minutes later to announce that nine players from the Gilas team, as well as four from the Boomers team, were thrown out of the match, GMA News reported.
Terrence Romeo, Carl Bryan Cruz, Jayson Castro, Calvin Abueva, Andray Blatche, Roger Pogoy, Troy Rosario, Japeth Aguilar, and Matthew Wright were all ejected from the Gilas Pilipinas team.
Only three players — June Mar Fajardo, Gabe Norwood, and Baser Amer — from the Philippines national basketball team were left to finish the game.
Goulding, Maker, Kickert, and Nathan Sobey were the only players ejected from the Australian team.
In the end, referees were forced to award the win to Australia with a score of 89-53 as Fajardo and Norwood committed intentional fouls that got them disqualified.
After the incident, Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes defended the team’s actions and called out a specific Australian player who allegedly got physical with his players during warm-ups.
“It’s absolutely unacceptable but the reality is that (Daniel) Kickert [was] hitting our players during the warm-ups. He hit Carl Bryan Cruz, he hit Matthew Wright, Pogoy and he hit Calvin Abueva during the warm-ups,” Reyes said. “So when he did that, the foul of Pogoy on Goulding was an offensive foul, it was a basketball play, but he (Kickert) was the one who came in and decked Pogoy. 5th time. You don’t expect to do it to a team 5 times and not expect to to retaliate.”
Maker later took to Twitter to apologize for his actions during the match with Gilas Pilipinas.
— Thon Maker ™ (@ThonMaker14) July 3, 2018
However, many netizens were not pleased with what the Gilas members did after the brawl.
This just happened. After one of the wildest on-court brawls in recent memory, the Philippines team pauses to pose for a selfie, like there’s something to celebrate pic.twitter.com/fTXAaBA5lp
— Mitchell Scott (@WhippingBoySEN) July 2, 2018
Australia’s Boomers were already in a tight situation prior to the match after they were caught ripping off the decals approved by FIBA on the basketball court.
Manny V. Pangilinan, SBP chairman emeritus, posted a clip on his Twitter account showing the team members removing the decals, saying that they were too slippery.
Aussie team ripping our/Fiba logos on the court of Phil Arena w/o asking permission. We will not back down. Those stickers go in. Regardless. pic.twitter.com/LMwyiBNtG4
— Manny V. Pangilinan (@iamMVP) July 1, 2018
On Sunday evening, Reyes also took to Twitter and said how the team played in other venues that had the same decals placed on the court.
Madulas daw, e that’s FIBA approved. Besides,we’ve played in other venues w similar decals. Secondly, IF, & that’s a big IF, it did indeed make the floor slippery, they had no right to just rip the decals and deface OUR floor. There were SBP/FIBA officials in venue #basicdecency https://t.co/ddsJV3AJuD
— Chot Reyes (@coachot) July 1, 2018
Gilas Pilipinas team manager Butch Antonio told ESPN5 that the Boomers’ coaching staff were responsible for the removal of the sticker and the Australian delegation apologized for the incident.
“They take full responsibility and they were very much apologetic,” Antonio said. “The method of what they did, in solving the problem or the issue, was wrong. They leave it to FIBA to decide on the matter. He apologized to the whole group in the technical meeting.”
Images via YouTube / nicktan77