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SBP breaks silence, apologizes for Gilas-Australia scuffle

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By Mark Patriarca

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) has formally apologized for the shocking rumble that occurred during the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers game between the Gilas Pilipinas and the visiting Australian team at the Philippine Arena last night.

SBP President Al Panlilio posted a statement on Twitter, where the organization apologized to “Filipino basketball fans and to the basketball community.”

“As hosts, we regret having breached the bounds of traditional Filipino hospitality,” the SBP said. “As the national team representing flag and country, we likewise extend our apologies to the Filipino people.”

“SBP stands by its conviction that violence has no place in sports.”

The fight for the top spot of Group B turned into an actual fight when Roger Pogoy banged hard on Australia’s Chris Goulding that prompted Boomers’ deadshot center Daniel Kickert to retaliate with an elbow on Pogoy’s head.

The Gilas players were quick to respond led by team captain Jayson Castro, who launched a straight-up superman punch that landed right on Kickert’s kisser. From that point, the incident escalated to an instant baseline riot. Several Gilas players and staffs also rushed the court, including those who were not even listed for the game such as Allein Maliksi and Jio Jalalon.

After cooler heads prevail, nine Gilas players were thrown out of the court while four from the Boomers’ side we also booted out.

Australia went on to win by default with an 89-53 score line deep in the third quarter.

Both sides await the ongoing FIBA disciplinary hearing on the ill-famed incident.