MANILA, Philippines – Local sports officials are poised to file an appeal if FIBA, the world governing body for basketball, decides to suspend the Gilas Pilipinas players involved in the Philippine-Australia brawl in all sporting events.
“Depende kung anong decision ng FIBA. Kung ano yung suspension, susundin namin. Pero kung yung suspension hanggang sa PBA, aapela kami,” said Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) commissioner Willie Marcial in a press conference on Thursday, July 5.
(It depends on the FIBA decision. Whatever the decision is, we’ll abide by it. But if the suspension covers the PBA, then we’ll appeal.)
The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) and the PBA are bracing for the worst: A suspension of all involved Gilas players – or even the entire Philippine team – in all FIBA-sanctioned events, including the PBA and the 2018 Asian Games this August. (READ: SBP president braces for suspensions, sanctions for FIBA brawl)
“We have to anticipate that,” said POC secretary-general Patrick “Pato” Gregorio. “We hope it will not affect our participation in the Asian Games. We want to be part of it.”
The PBA summoned all the PBA players in the infamous match where the Filipino and Australian players and team officials figured in a full-blown brawl in the FIBA World Cup Asia qualifier last July 2 at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan.
The Philippines ended up losing the game by default as 9 Gilas players got ejected for joining the fracas while 2 of the 3 players left on the floor eventually fouled out. FIBA rules state at least two players should be on the court for the game to continue. (READ: Gilas loses to Australia by default in World Cup Qualifiers)
Gabe Norwood, June Mar Fajardo and Baser Amer, the 3 players left on court after steering clear of the skirmish, led the Gilas players in the closed-door PBA meeting at the league office.
Roger Pogoy, Calvin Abueva, Terrence Romeo, Jayson Castro, Japeth Aguilar, Carl Bryan Cruz, Troy Rosario – 7 of the 9 ejected Gilas players – also attended the meeting.
Gilas pool players Allein Maliksi and Jio Jalalon were likewise summoned for figuring in the bench-clearing melee.
“More on pinagsabihan namin sila, sana hindi na maulit lalo na sa PBA,” said Marcial.
(It’s more of a reminder, for them not to do it again, especially in the PBA.)
“There are precedents, so we expect some sanctions to happen,” said SBP president Al Panlilio. “But we always prepare for the worst.” – Rappler.com