10 Gilas players suspended, SBP fined for FIBA brawl

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Ten Gilas Pilipinas players got suspended from international play for figuring in the infamous brawl that marred the FIBA World Cup Asia qualifier match between the Philippines and Australia last July 2 at the Philippine Arena. 

FIBA, the world governing body for basketball, handed down the decision on Thursday, July 19, days after the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) and Basketball Australia sent their official reports on the incident. 

Terrence Romeo, Jayson Castro, Calvin Abueva, Andray Blatche, Roger Pogoy, Troy Rosario, Japeth Aguilar, Carl Bryan Cruz, Matthew Wright and Jio Jalalon will serve their respective suspensions for their involvement in the full-blown melee. 

Abueva will serve the longest suspension with 6 games while Pogoy, Cruz and Jalalon will each serve a 5-game ban. 

Castro, Romeo, Blatche, Rosario got suspended for 3 games each while Aguilar and Wright got banned for a game each. 

"FIBA wishes to emphasize that it condemns any form of violence, both on and off the court," it said it in a statement. 

"Respect, sportsmanship and professionalism are expected from players, coaches, officials." 

Nine Gilas players were thrown out of the game, which saw the Philippines lose by default after not having enough personnel on the court while Jalalon was seen landing a punch on Nathan Sobey's head. 

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

Some of Gilas' coaching staff did not go scot-free from the FIBA decision.

Gilas head coach Chot Reyes will serve a one-game suspension and shall pay a disciplinary fine of 10,000 Swiss francs (approx. P535,000) while deputy coach Jong Uichico will serve a 3-game suspension for joining the Filipino mob that mauled Chris Goulding.

The SBP, meanwhile, will pay a disciplinary fine of 250,000 Swiss francs (approx. P13.37 million) for the unsportsmanlike behavior of its delegation members and of its public, as well as for insufficient organization of the game. 

FIBA, through a press release sent to the media, stated that the Philippines will 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. 

In the Aussie side, Daniel Kickert will serve a 5-game suspension, Thon Maker will serve a 3-game suspension while Goulding will serve a one-game suspension. 

Sobey, despite getting thrown out of the game, did not receive any sanction. 

Basketball Australia shall pay a disciplinary fine of 100,000 Swiss francs (approx. P5.34 million) for the unsportsmanlike conduct of its players and for ripping the FIBA-approved stickers at the Philippine Arena on the eve of the game. 

If there is a silver lining in the decision, the suspended players' PBA and National Basketball League careers are not affected by the suspension, according to a report by Fox Sports Australia's Olgun Uluc

The FIBA Secretary in General has also decided that referees who officiated the game shall be removed with immediate effect from the FIBA Elite Program and shall not be nominated to any FIBA-recognized competitions for one year. 

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas will be given 14 days to appeal to FIBA, and 21 days in the Court of Appeals from the time the appeal decision was handed down. –with reports from Agence France-Presse and Beatrice Go/Rappler.com

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.

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