MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Tempers flared early in Gilas Pilipinas' game against their Russian opponents in the 2015 William Jones Cup on Tuesday, September 1 at the Xinchuang Gymnasium in Taipei.
Gilas rookie Terrence Romeo was in an altercation midway in the first period of what is shaping up to be a highly physical game.
Romeo, 23, was shadowing one Russian on the wing at the 4:11 mark of the opening period. The Russian ultimately flailed his arm and hit Romeo on the face and fell to the floor in front of the referee, who did not blow his whistle.
Not one to back down despite players much taller than him, the 5-foot-10 Romeo stood and bumped the Russian on the knee on his way up.
Here's the first sequence of Terrence Romeo getting hit by a Russian and responding #Gilas #JonesCup @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/w3Eyj1UYuR — Jane Bracher (@janebracher) September 1, 2015
The second motion did not sit well with the Russian wearing jersey number 63 as he tried to go after Romeo but was stopped by other Gilas rookies Moala Tautuaa and Troy Rosario.
It didn't end there despite officials trying to break things up as another player from Russia wearing jersey number 91 was seen in another camera angle discreetly flinging the ball straight to Romeo's face.
Asi Taulava goes after Russian who threw ball in Terrence Romeo's face #Gilas #JonesCup @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/V2FgzIcBua — Jane Bracher (@janebracher) September 1, 2015
Veteran big man Asi Taulava saw the hit and charged toward the Russian, who was eventually slapped with a techincal foul. Romeo sank his free throw to trim Gilas' deficit to 9-14.
The ball to the face caused Romeo to bleed, according to a photo from Sports5's Carlo Pamintuan.
Romeo spat this out. He bled after the ball was thrown at his face by 91. pic.twitter.com/kmFq1ySUL8 — Carlo Pamintuan (@carlo_pamintuan) September 1, 2015
Earlier, big man Sonny Thoss bled profusely from the back of his head after getting elbowed during a rebound play with 7:59 left in the first quarter.
Late in the second, Tautuaa and a Russian wearing jerseny number 33 were also getting physical with extra motions as they jockeyed for position.
Head coach Tab Baldwin was visibly unhappy about the calls and, according to a tweet from Inquirer.net's Musong Castillo, declared the Philippines would walk out if there is one more dirty play.
Baldwin talking to tournament officials: "One more (dirty play) and we're out." pic.twitter.com/4buyLbhQXO — Musong R. Castillo (@musongcastillo) September 1, 2015