SBP issues apology in the aftermath of Gilas-Australia brawl

Philippine basketball federation Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) on Tuesday released a statement regarding the fight that happened during the game between Gilas PIlipinas and Australia in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan on Monday.

In the statement, the SBP, which is also the local organizing committee of the tournament, issued an apology for the incident.

"The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) apologizes to Filipino basketball fans and to the basketball community for the incident that occurred during last night's game. As hosts, we regret having breached the bounds of traditional Filipino hospitality. As the national team representing flag and country, we likewise extend our apologies to the Filipino people," the statement read.

The SBP added it stands by its conviction that "violence has no place in sports."

"We will review the incident comprehensively and await the decision of FIBA with respect to disciplinary proceedings on the matter," SBP said to end the statement.

Gilas forward Japeth Aguilar also made an apology on Twitter on Tuesday.

"The incident last night could have been dealt with differently but emotions were running high. In the heat of the moment, we just wanted to defend our brother," he said.

Aguilar, however, also said there is "no excuse for how we responded." He added that as national athletes, they are aware that they are representing more than just themselves.

"How we acted last night is not a just representation of the Filipino people. For this I'd like to apologize to my fellow Filipinos, to the Australian team, to their supporters and to basketball fans everywhere. Hopefully we can move forward with humility, compassion and respect for one another."

The Boomers were up 79-48 with 4:01 left in the third period when the action was suddenly halted after a collision by Gilas' Roger Pogoy and Australia's Chris Goulding escalated into an ugly free-for-all.

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

Both benches emptied and punches were thrown from both camps. South Sudan-Australian forward Thon Maker was also seen kicking Gilas naturalized player Andray Blatche during the fight.

Terrence Romeo also threw a punch at the back of Maker's head in the bench-clearing incident. Maker, who played last season for the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA, retaliated with a flying kick but missed. An Aussie player was seen getting hit by a chair, while some spectators threw debris on the court as the fight escalated.

The officials assessed the replay of the fight and made a decision to eject 13 players -- nine players from the Gilas Pilipinas and four from the Australian national team -- from the game.

SBP 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."

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

Meanwhile, Basketball Australia chief executive Anthony Moore also released a statement on Monday, expressing his disappointment on the incident.

"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.