As the blame game continues, various evidences have circulated around the internet that could possibly direct to the root cause of the infamous skirmish between the two teams
By Klyde Manansala | Photo by Tristan Tamayo
There were a couple of incidents that could have sparked the on-court brawl. Here are some of the most sensible on and off-court events that might have triggered the unfortunate incident:
The Pre-Game Warm-Up
In the 28-second video released by Fox Sports Australia, Gilas forward Calvin Abueva appears to be trying to trip Australian Daniel Kickert during the warm-up. In return, Kickert turned and aggressively shoved Matthew Wright.
But Gilas head coach Chot Reyes shared a different sentiment. Reyes said it was Kickert who started it by “hitting” several Gilas players as they loosened up. Among those pushed by the Aussie were Abueva, Wright, RR Pogoy, and Carl Bryan Cruz.
Out of the four Gilas players whom Reyes said were hit by Kickert, an ESPN5 footage reveals that Kickert aggressively shoved Wright.
.@coachot: "Apparently some of our players crossed a bit over and we'll see here Matthew Wright getting pushed violently by Kickert from behind." https://t.co/ivl4wEFIc7 | #SportsCenterPH pic.twitter.com/BCqZN3zp0s
— ESPN5 (@Sports5PH) July 3, 2018
However, in the video posted by Fox Sports Australia, it seems that Kickert’s push on Wright was in retaliation to Abueva extending his leg to trip the 6’8” Boomer. Kickert mistakenly thought it was Wright who tried to trip him.
The Ripping of Floor Stickers
This may be a shallow reason to start a fight, but the Australian basketball team’s decision to remove the sponsored floor decals in the Philippine Arena could have heightened the heat between the two teams.
The day before the FIBA World Cup Asian qualifier took place, Australian officials ripped off the floor decals and stickers themselves without seeking consent from any of the country’s officials.
Manny V. Pangilinan, Gilas Pilipinas’ main sponsor, expressed his resentment on Twitter.
Aussie team ripping our/Fiba logos on the court of Phil Arena w/o asking permission. We will not back down. Those stickers go in. Regardless. pic.twitter.com/LMwyiBNtG4
— Manny V. Pangilinan (@iamMVP) July 1, 2018
After the incident, Basketball Australia CEO Anthony Moore owned up to their actions and issued an apology.
An Australian news agency has reported that Boomers head coach Luc Longley believes that Reyes was the one who gave orders on engaging in a fist fight.
“I do believe their coach, Chot Reyes, incited them to come out and thug us. I think there’s video evidence of that,” Longley said in a report.
In the video, Reyes appears to be frustratingly saying “Hit somebody. Put somebody in his ass,” in the last time-out before the appalling pile-on occurred.
In his defense, Reyes said that the whole situation was taken out of context. According to the Gilas coach, he wasn’t literally ordering his players to hurt someone physically—“hit someone” and “put somebody in his ass” was a basketball parlance for Reyes, which means “foul early” or “don’t give a lay-up,” and he has actually used it from time to time.
NLEX archer and former Gilas player Larry Fonacier also backed Reyes who was his mentor for a long time during his days at TNT Tropang Texters and Gilas Pilipinas.
Just to put this into context, being a player of coach for so many years, he always uses this term when he feels his team is not matching the opponents’ physicality. That’s all. It is not a direct order to hit in a dirty way. https://t.co/iAnsMAMxO5
— Larry Fonacier (@larryfo12) July 2, 2018
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