Brawl mentality

The Philippines lost to Australia by 36 points in a basketball game Monday night, but it appears the nation lost so much more.

The game, held at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan, saw an ugly brawl that resulted in the ejection of 13 athletes—four from Australia and nine from the Philippines. The International Basketball Federation or Fiba will investigate the incident and is poised to sanction those found to have committed violations.

The brawl took place after a local player knocked an Australian opponent to the ground; the Australian’s teammate retaliated by hitting the Filipino with a flying elbow.

The Philippine team’s coach, Chot Reyes was recorded as exhorting his players “to hit somebody.”

It might have been the push the losing team needed, but it did not serve the Philippine team—nor all of us, very well.

Expressions of regret were made, but real sentiments continue to be betrayed by the words that both camps used in the aftermath of the brawl. Reyes, for instance, insists they were standing up to their opponent’s bullying. The local team has apologized to fans and the basketball community—but not to Australia.

Meanwhile, an Australian basketball legend believes Reyes drove his players to violence.

“Reyes incited them to come out and thug us,” said Luc Longley.

Fiba’s investigation is expected to put the erring players in their place, but the incident reveals a serious violation of the principles that make us turn to sports in the first place.

There was also an imperative for our local team to keep tempers in check if only because we were the hosts.

Whatever the provocation, this is an embarrassing episode. Engaging in sports is supposed to clear one’s mind and promote good relations even with rival players. What happened was the exact opposite of that—as it was an abomination of the word “gilas.”

Topics: International Basketball Federation , Gilas Pilipinas , Australia Boomers , Chot Reyes , Luc Longley , Sportsmanship
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