SBP Chair: Sanctions must be meted out in Gilas-Australia brawl

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 3) — Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) Chair Sonny Angara stands by the Philippine national team but wants sanctions meted out on the brawl involving players from Gilas Pilipinas and the Australian national team in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers.

"Sanctions must be meted out, apologies extended as true sportsmen would, non-players who joined the melee should be punished, and above all, lessons learned so that this should not happen again," Angara said in a statement.

Australia beat Gilas Pilipinas by default, 89-53, Monday at the Philippine Arena marred by a free-for-all on-court melee that took place in the third quarter.

It resulted in the ejection of a total 13 players, nine coming from Gilas Pilipinas.

"In the heat of the moment, the players on both sides had to stand up for each other. It is not only a universal human reaction in a team sport, but for those who have played the game, looking after each other is part of the brotherhood among team members," Angara said.

He also echoed the sentiments of SBP President Al Panlilio that the referees could have done a better job in handling the heated match.

Also read: ‘Very weak crew’ officiated Gilas-Australia game - Panlilio

"It was unfortunate that things got out of hand. It could have been prevented if the referees had tightened officiating to better control the game," Angara said.

He said it was an isolated event and that the Philippines should focus on the "national project of hosting the best FIBA World Cup ever in 2023."

Panlilio in an interview on CNN Philippines New Day said he remains hopeful that the on-court brawl will not affect the hosting of the 2023 games. The Philippines will co-host the international meet along with Indonesia and Japan.