FIBA slams hammer on Gilas and Boomers: Fair or Foul?

Several sanctions were meted out by FIBA on the basketball fiasco between Gilas Pilipinas and the Australia Boomers during their FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers game last July 2, 2018 at the Philippine Arena.

The sanctions

FIBA decided on Thursday to slap two Filipino coaches and 13 players from the two teams with game suspensions for the future 2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifying Games.

10 players from the Philippine National Team received suspensions for unsportsmanlike behavior, with Calvin Abueva receiving the heaviest sanction of a 6-game suspension as his case was deemed to be more severe due to prior unsportsmanlike behavior in FIBA competition.

Japeth Aguilar and Matthew Wright both received a one-game suspension, Andray Blatche, Terrence Romeo, and Jayson Castro William each received a three-games; and Carl Cruz, Jio Jalalon, and Roger Pogoy were given five game suspensions.

Only June Mar Fajardo, Gabe Norwood and Baser Amer who were not ejected during the match, were spared from the sanctions made by FIBA.

The suspensions, however, does not carry over to the PBA, unlike Kiefer Ravena’s case.

On the other hand, Astrualia’s Daniel Kickert received a 5-game suspension; Thon Maker: 3-game suspension, and Chris Goulding: 1-game suspension.

Coaches Jong Uichico and Chot Reyes were not spared for their unsportsmanlike behavior and received three-game and one-game suspensions respectively, with Reyes paying roughly 540,000 pesos.

Aside from the suspensions, Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas (SBP) will also serve a fine of also 250,000 Swiss Francs or around 13.3 million pesos for the “unsportsmanlike behavior of its delegation members and of its public, as well as for insufficient organization of the game”.

According to reports, part of the sanction states that the Philippines will be allowed to play the next home game behind closed doors while a ban for two more home games has been placed under a probationary period of 3 years.

By: Japheth G. Tobias

Fair or foul?

The Philippines received the brunt of the penalties as it should be.

The players on the bench do not have any right to enter the court when the commotion happened and threw punches at their opponents.

It is very dangerous act as it can likely induce violent reactions given the condition that the participants belong to different countries in a home-away format.

The reaction of some fans and official nearby in joining the fray did confirm this unnecessary risk. As seen, objects, such as the chairs and bottles thrown put the life and welfare of the visiting team in jeopardy.

The violent reaction of the players on the floor to the Boomers’ physical play and physicality is also out of line even if they perceived the visitors were asking for it. There are a various ways to combat this style of play and engaging them in a boxing/MMA match is not the best solution at all.

The incident likewise showed the Philippines still needs to do a lot for us to host events with international magnitude like this. SBP has to guarantee the safety of both the players and fans in the venue so everybody can enjoy the game.

The Boomers were not spared and also rightly so.

Their composure in staying within the bounds of their bench was admirable. So is with two of three players on the court when the incident happened.

Chris Goulding may have gotten a lighter penalty than what should be, though. He played a big part of the occurrence of the melee and could have a hand in putting his teammates at risk.

It seems he was the obvious target of most of the Gilas players’ ire. He was the main guy who kept on employing the physicality even though the Boomers are already up by almost 30 as seen by the headbutt he delivered in between freethrows to a Gilas player.

Australia Basketball should also think about their guys’ role as ambassadors of this game.

They came here with a somewhat unconventional set of mentality despite being the favored team and may have, somehow, failed to see their possible ramifications.

They want to preserve their lead in the bracket, always a good thing for the game and the competition, at costs that may include methods that many see as disrespect to the host, a questionable approach given their stature.

You can see this kinda disrespect from in their actions: from the unilateral removal of the decals, the pushing and shoving during the warm-ups, the willingness to apply physical play to a physically smaller opponent who they can easily beat using their skills and size, to the continuing physicality and running up of the score even when up by a mile, all at Philippine soil in front of Filipino fans.

When they were playing 5 on 3 after the ejections, some Boomer was still trying to sink their freethrows on the intentional fouls given by Gilas just to end the game.

Matthew Dellavedova even knew what that meant as he was seen by TV commentators telling his teammates to just brick them.

I wonder what kind of expectation they had about the Filipino players reaction to these instances? These actions were somewhat asking for the very same reactions they got from their opponents.

Whatever the Boomers have done to induce a team which is not known for physical confrontations and dirty plays to react by turning ballistic is just as bad as the reaction they got.

Are these tricks really necessary? Had they kept the game on a plain skillset-based competition, they would have still won easily that night. Without the fracas.

What about the threatened law suits now against officials and audience when the incident’s main subject is suppose to involve just a basketball game?

All of these could have been avoided if they came here just to play the game in the truest basketball sense.

Frankly, they could and should have acted better given they were the better team from a supposedly better country.

Filipino hoop fans, while their hearts would always be reserved for Gilas, don’t only admire Filipinos. Foreigners are also being revered. Guys here love the NBA where not a single true-blue Filipino is playing. Filipino fans knew who Dellavedova was, don’t they? Some knew Thon Maker.

How about come here, play well, and earn new fans on the side of this world rather than antagonizing them.

For both Gilas and the Boomers: this carrying of the flag mentality should have limits just as camaraderie and friendship does. It is really just a game… To be enjoyed foremost.

The referees of the game also got the hammer as it should be.

This was a poorly officiated game where personal fouls should been called more often and warnings and technical fouls should have been called early to disallow the game from going out of hand.

This “let the players” play rule should only be applied if the players indeed wants to play. Basketball that is. Not Basketbrawl.

By: Armando M. Bolislis

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