MANILA, Philippines – Add Jayson Castro to the list of Gilas Pilipinas players and team officials who have apologized for the infamous brawl between the Philippines and Australia in the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifying game on Monday, July 2, at Philippine Arena in Bulacan.
The usually mild-mannered Gilas point guard admitted his actions were uncharacteristic of him and only worsened an already heated situation.
“Hindi namin ginusto ang nangyari. Hindi kami pumunta sa laro para maghanap ng away. Sa kagustuhan naming ipagtanggol ang kakampi namin, lalong lumaki yung gulo,” wrote Castro on a note he posted on Instagram.
(We didn’t want this to happen. We didn’t go to the game to look for fights. But because of our desire to protect our teammate, the tensions got worse.)
The whole melee on the court began when Roger Pogoy shoved Christopher Goulding to the ground, but the guard was eventually decked by Daniel Kickert.
Many Filipino basketball fans were stunned when they saw Castro throw high-flying punches at Kickert, which led to his ejection along with 8 other Gilas players.
Castro extended his apologies to the whole basketball community – including the Australian players and fans.
“Humihingi rin ako ng paumanhin sa Australian team and fans nila,” added Castro.
(I’m asking for forgiveness from the Australian team and its fans.)
“Hindi ako ganung klaseng tao. Hindi tayo ganun bilang Pilipino. Dapat mas na-control ko yung emotions ko dahil buong bansa yung dala namin pag naglalaro kami para sa Gilas.”
(I’m not that kind of person. We’re not like this as Filipinos. I should’ve controlled my emotions because we’re carrying the whole country when we compete for Gilas.)
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio defended Castro, noting that something triggered the point guard even before the game started for him to act in such an uncharacteristic way.
“I was asking Chot (Reyes) earlier, how many international games has Jayson ever played? Include the local games or any games in his whole career that he acted this way, there’s none. There was a trigger for Jayson,” said Panlilio during the ESPN 5 Sports Center interview.
Gilas head coach Reyes also shared Castro’s sentiments after the fight-marred game.
“Jayson said, ‘ako hindi ako mahilig mang-away, hindi ako naniniwala sa away. Buong career ko, never pa ako napalapit man lang sa away,‘” recalled Reyes.
(I don’t like causing fights, I don’t believe in fights. In my whole career, I never came close to a fight.)
After the game, Reyes singled out Kickert for playing mental games on the Philippine team and hitting 4 of his players during the warmups.
Hailed as Asia’s best point guard in 2015, Castro looks to redeem himself by going back to being a good role model to aspiring basketball players and to all Filipinos.
“Gusto kong maging mabuting halimbawa sa mga bata, lalong lalo na sa mga anak ko at sisikapin kong hindi na mauulit pa ang nangyari kagabi,” said Castro.
(I want to be a good example to the youth, especially to my children, and I’m determined to make sure that last night’s incident won’t happen again.)
“Sana pagkatapos ng lahat ng ito, in time, bumalik sa pagiging inspirasyon sa LAHAT ng Pilipino ang Gilas dahil yun naman talaga ang dahilan kung bakit kami lumalaban.”
(I hope that after everything, in time, Gilas will go back to being an inspiration to all Filipinos because that’s the reason why we continue fighting.) – with reports from Delfin Dioquino/Rappler.com