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FIBA (International Basketball Federation)

Basketball brawl: Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes urged players to ‘hit somebody’, claim Australia

Boomers assistant coach Luc Longley blames Chot Reyes for inciting the violence that saw World Cup qualifier descend into Manila melee

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 July, 2018, 5:13pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 July, 2018, 5:16pm

Philippines coach Chot Reyes has been accused of inciting the violence that erupted into an all-out brawl in a World Cup qualifying match against Australia on Monday.

The melee in Bulacan, north of Manila, at the Philippine Arena involved players, fans and officials with the Australia team left fearing for their safety.

The visitors even sought help from the Australian embassy to fast track their departure, and the team arrived home on Wednesday morning.

After landing in Brisbane, Boomers assistant coach Luc Longley, a former NBA star with the Chicago Bulls, claimed he heard Reyes tell his players during a timeout to “hit somebody” because he felt “embarrassed” by how badly his team were playing.

“I’ve never seen anything like that, not even on YouTube. I do believe that their coach Chot Reyes incited them to come out and thug us,” said Longley, who won three NBA championships with Michael Jordan.

“I think there’s video evidence of that. Then he substituted a thug out there, who took three or four cheap swings at ‘Bubbles’ [Australia player Chris Goulding].”

Philippines and Australia basketball brawl erupts with punches, kicks and chairs thrown and 13 players ejected

World basketball’s governing body Fiba has opened disciplinary proceedings against both teams and will announce a decision in the coming days.

In all, 13 players were ejected following the ugly clash, which took Fiba officials 30 minutes to break up, with some Philippines players then bizarrely taking group selfies on the court.

“I’m upset with him [Reyes] more than anybody, and to let his team take selfies, gangster selfies on the line after an event like that, that shows total lack of control or respect,” Longley said.

“He wouldn’t look me in the eye at the end of the game when I shook his hand, and I think he was embarrassed and … if you listen to his diatribe after the game, I think it verifies it.”

Philippines basketball brawl: Australia inflamed issue by ripping up decals from court, admits chief

The violence erupted when Gilas Pilipinas star Roger Pogoy knocked Goulding to the floor with an elbow. Daniel Kickert of Australia rushed over and retaliated with an elbow in kind on Pogoy, before all hell broke loose.

Longley tried to help Goulding, who was being hounded by a large group of Filipino players and officials.

“Those are the sorts of images you hope you never see, one guy lying on the ground covering up his head and being kicked and beaten by the other team, players and officials and guys from the crowd,” he said. “It was horrifying. I wasn’t supposed to come off the bench. It was really disturbing.

“I went onto the court to protect our guys, with the idea of not hurting anyone, just putting my big body in the way.”

After the brawl, the Philippines resumed the match with just three players, having been down 79-48 when the brawl erupted late in the third quarter.

The game further descended into farce soon afterwards, with another Philippines player ejected for a foul. Down to two men, they were forced to forfeit the game with Australia taking a 89-53 victory in the group B Asian qualifier clash.