Aussies apologize for ripping off stickers on Philippine Arena floor

A group of men removed stickers from the Philippine Arena basketball court without seeking permission from FIBA or the local organizing committee.

The act was seen in a video posted by FIBA Central Board member Manny V. Pangilinan on Twitter on Sunday evening.

In his tweet, Pangilinan, who is also Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas chairman emeritus, said members of the Australian delegation were responsible for the removal of the stickers because they were allegedly too slippery for the players.

Gilas head coach Chot Reyes, in a separate tweet, said the stickers were "FIBA approved" and that the men had "no right to just rip the decals and deface our floor" without talking to FIBA or SBP officials first.

According to Gilas team manager Butch Antonio, the issue was addressed in the team managers' meeting at a hotel in Quezon City where both teams are billeted.

Antonio told ESPN5 it was the Boomers' coaching staff who made the decision to rip off the stickers. The Gilas official also said a FIBA official has already filed a report on the incident.

"It will be now up to the FIBA committee on discipline to give a decision and whatever penalties, if ever, to be meted out to the Australian delegation," he said.

The head of the Australian delegation has since apologized for the incident, added Antonio.

"They take full responsibility and they were very much apologetic," he said. "The method of what they did, in solving the problem or the issue, was wrong. They leave it to FIBA to decide on the matter. He apologized to the whole group in the technical meeting."

In a statement released on Sunday, the SBP said it "acknowledged the right of the visiting team to complain but did not have the right to remove anything as all the stickering of the floor has been approved by FIBA."

"The owners and operators of the Philippine Arena could possibly file a criminal action of malicious damage to property through pre-meditation and in conspiracy with each other," the statement continued.

"FIBA should take action in order that the owners will be appeased so they will not file action. SBP is awaiting FIBA's response to the matter."

Australia is set to face Gilas Pilipinas in the third window of the FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers on Monday.

ESPN5's Sid Ventura contributed to this report.