Aussies and Filipinos ‘sorry’ for brawl in Manila

The two countries apologise for bringing basketball into “disrepute.”

Mayhem: Basketball players from Australia and Philippines engaged in an ugly altercation in a FIBA World Cup qualifier match in Manila.   -  AP

Australia and the Philippines apologised on Thursday for bringing basketball into “disrepute” with a massive on-court melee between players, fans and officials during a World Cup qualifier.

The violence on Monday in Manila, which made international headlines, left the Australian team fearing for its safety, and it sought embassy help to fast-track its departure from the Philippines.

“We wish to apologise to the entire basketball community worldwide — and in particular to our fantastic fans,” said the joint statement from the nations’ basketball associations.

The apology in particular cited “the behaviour displayed by both teams and for bringing the game of basketball into disrepute.”

#Basketbrawl

Tempers were still hot on Wednesday when the Australian team arrived home after the bench-clearing fight that resulted in 13 players being ejected and which was hashtagged #basketbrawl.

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“I've never seen anything like that, not even on YouTube. I do believe that their coach Chot Reyes incited them to come out and thug us,” Boomers assistant coach Luc Longley told reporters after landing in Brisbane.

Longley, who won three NBA championships alongside Michael Jordan with the Chicago Bulls, pointed to footage of an angry Reyes during a time-out telling his players to “hit somebody.”

Free for all

What was already a bad-tempered game erupted into violence in the third quarter when Philippine player Roger Pogoy knocked Australia's Chris Goulding to the ground and Daniel Kickert retaliated by flattening Pogoy with a flying elbow.

Basketball’s governing body FIBA has opened disciplinary proceedings against both teams after the melee, where players and officials kicked and pounded a prone Australian player and both sides exchanged flying kicks and punches.

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