Multiple players ejected as fight breaks out in Gilas-Australia game

BOCAUE, Bulacan -- A fight resulting in 13 ejections broke out during the game between Gilas Pilipinas and Australia at the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan on Monday.

The Boomers were up 79-48 with 4:01 left in the third period when the game was suddenly halted after a collision between Gilas guard Roger Pogoy and Australian veteran Chris Goulding started what would eventually escalate into an ugly free-for-all.

The game was eventually called when Gilas was left with only one player.

The brawl began with Goulding knocked to the floor after the collision, prompting Australian big man Daniel Kickert to hit Pogoy with an elbow.

Both benches emptied, with punches thrown from both camps. South Sudan-Australian forward Thon Maker was seen kicking Gilas naturalized player Andray Blatche during the bench-clearing incident.

Terrence Romeo also threw a punch at the back of Maker's head. Maker, who played last season for the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA, retaliated with a flying kick but missed Romeo.

One Aussie player appeared to be hit by a chair, and some fans threw debris on the court as the fight escalated.

After assessing the replay of the fight, officials made a decision to eject 13 players from the game.

Australian players Maker, Christopher Goulding, Nathan Sobey, and Daniel Kickert, and nine players from the Philippine team -- Terrence Romeo, Jayson Castro, Carl Bryan Cruz, Calvin Abueva, Blatche, Pogoy, Troy Rosario, Japeth Aguilar and Matthew Wright were disqualified.

When the game resumed, Gilas only fielded three players -- June Mar Fajardo, Gabe Norwood, and Baser Amer. Norwood and Fajardo soon fouled out, leaving Amer as the lone Philippine player on the court which forced the officials to call the game with Australia winning 89-53.

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio addressed the crowd after the brawl subsided.

"I want to appeal to everybody to please settle down," he said. "We didn't want what happened to happen. We are hosting this game, and this is basketball. We will wait for the referees' decision. Please respect the game and make our visitors safe in the arena. We will continue the game. Let's show respect to our friends from Australia. Let's respect also the decision that will come out from the referees."

Gilas coach Chot Reyes after the game defended his players.

"I understand the disappointment, I understand that some are embarrassed, but you don't know what happened. You have to be in the team, you have to be in our circle to really understand what went down," he said.

FIBA in a statement said Austrailia and Philippines will face "disciplinary proceedings" and decisions will be made in the coming days.

Basketball Australia chief executive Anthony Moore expressed his disappointment following the match played in front of more than 22,000 fans.

"Basketball Australia deeply regrets the incident in tonight's match between the Boomers and the Philippines in Manila. We are extremely disappointed with what happened and our role in it," Moore said in a statement that was posted in an article at www.nbl.com.au.