And the arguments took on an unexpectedly political turn

By Catherine Orda | Illustration by Marian Hukom

Following the “embarrassing” and “disgusting” Gilas-Boomers brawl at the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, social media reactions from across the globe continue to pour in. Many have rebuked the disgraceful behavior shown by both teams, lamenting the disappointing absence of sportsmanship in a game that was meant to foster just that. The now widely infamous scuffle, which has been dubbed by basketball fans as “a sad day for Filipino basketball,” has since given rise to multiple arguments online, with opinions taking on the forms of staunch patriotism and finger-pointing.

Facebook user Joaquin Talan calls this photo his masterpiece:

At the outset, there seems to be the question of blame to consider. Local fans have zeroed in on the issue, with quite a few expressing their support for Gilas:

But as a number of people have pointed out, at the root of this support is toxic masculinity and a false sense of nationalism:

Dissenting opinions have also called for the disavowal of the relevance of blame, pointing out that it’s not really so much the question of “who started it,” as it is the fact that what happened was disgraceful and unfortunate:

Some people also brought up the necessity of putting things into context:

Again, the question of nationalism seemed to be at the fore of all these arguments, and so perhaps it wasn’t so odd that the discussion took on a political turn. A new wave of online spate started on the account Professional Heckler who likened the basket-brawl to a certain national issue:

While there were a few who poked fun at the sentiment, some were quick to express dissent: