By Nick Butler |
National basketball federations from Australia and The Philippines have issued a joint apology following their brawl in a Men’s World Cup qualifier in what appears an attempt to soften the punishment they are likely to receive.
Thirteen players were ejected from the match at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan after the violent scenes, which left the home side with just three eligible players.
Two more then fouled out leading to The Philippines having to forfeit a farcical contest, which they were trailing 89-53.
Basketball Australia President Ned Coten and his Filipino counterpart Alfredo S. Panlilio said they deeply regretted the events that took place.
“The actions displayed [on Monday] have no place on any basketball court,” the joint statement said.
“We wish to apologize to the entire basketball community worldwide – and in particular to our fantastic fans in the Philippines and Australia – for the behavior displayed by both teams and for bringing the game of basketball into disrepute.
“We fully accept our responsibility and are collaborating in the ongoing proceedings to investigate the incidents.
“We will do everything in our power to prevent this from happening again.”
The duo also claimed that basketball has a unique power to unite and that they would aim to demonstrate the “true spirit of friendship and sportsmanship” in future encounters.
The International Basketball Federation have opened disciplinary proceedings against both teams but are yet to confirm their punishment.
Australian coach Andrej Lemanis has also expressed concern that the National Basketball Association could use the incident to make it hard for players involved in the league to be released for international competition in the future.
Milwaukee Bucks pair Thon Maker and Matthew Dellavedova were both in Australia’s team for the match.
Maker is among those facing a possible suspension after he aimed numerous fly-kicks against Filipino opponents.
“Obviously that’s one of the concerns…what it means generally in terms of players’ willingness to participate and put their hand up,” Lemanis said.
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.