MANILA, Philippines – Yeng Guiao thinks it's time to bury the hatchet between Gilas Pilipinas and Australia following their infamous brawl, and what better way to do that than face each other again on the hardcourt?
The fiery mentor suggested that the Filipinos play the Aussies in a friendly game as part of their preparations for the 2019 FIBA World Cup to be staged in China starting August 31.
"We've all learned our lessons, I think both sides. Tayo natuto tayo sa nangyari, I think Australia natuto na din sa nangyari," Guiao said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday, April 23.
(We've all learned our lessons. I think both sides learned their lessons. We learned from what happened and I think Australia also learned from what happened.)
It has already been more than 9 months since the Philippines and Australia figured in one of the worst basketball brawls in recent memory last July 2 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
The skirmish saw 10 Filipinos and 3 Aussies suspended by FIBA and hefty fines meted out to both countries' basketball federations. (READ: 10 Gilas players suspended, SBP fined for FIBA brawl)
Former Philippine team head coach Chot Reyes and assistant coach Jong Uichico also did not go scot-free as they received respective suspensions.
Following FIBA's punishment, Gilas was forced to form a completely retooled lineup for the rest of the Asian Qualifiers and permanently replaced Reyes with Guiao at the helm.
But now that both teams have made it to the World Cup, Guiao feels that the Philippines and Australia would benefit from a tuneup game against each other because of their proximity.
Also, Australia enforces the same brand of basketball as Serbia, Italy, and Angola – teams Gilas will go up against in the World Cup.
"Mas malapit 'yung Australia at New Zealand kaysa magpunta tayo sa Europe to play the same brand of basketball we really have to expose ourselves to," Guiao said.
(Going to Australia and New Zealand is easier than going to Europe to play the same brand of basketball we really have to expose ourselves to.)
"Mayroon din doon sa gaining back 'yung goodwill for both sides, trying to restore our relationship with Australia and trying to put that behind us. I think enough time has passed para makalimutan natin 'yun," he also said.
(There's also gaining back the goodwill for both sides, trying to restore our relationship with Australia and trying to put the brawl behind us. I think enough time has passed for us to move on from the incident.)
"Every time we think about Australia, 'yun ang naiisip natin. Baka kailangan patungan 'yung memory na 'yun with a positive one instead of the negative one."
(Every time we think about Australia, we think about the brawl. Maybe we need to replace that memory with a positive one instead of the negative one.) – Rappler.com
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.