Apologies from both sides are in after the free-for-all that broke out between the Gilas Pilipinas and Australia Boomers in their 2018 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers matchup in Group B of the tournament.
The statements from players and staff come shortly after the two countries’ respective basketball governing bodies apologized for the chaos at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan on Monday night.
Japeth Aguilar (Philippines)
The Barangay Ginebra bigman took to Twitter to air out his thoughts the day after the controversial fracas. In his statement, Aguilar said that emotions were running high and that the belligerents had no excuse for the melee.
— Japeth Aguilar (@japethaguilar35) July 3, 2018
Jong Uichico (Philippines)
Gilas assistant coach Jong Uichico issued an apology after he was photographed by some media outlets punching an Australian player who was already pinned down by other attackers.
In his statement, he admitted to his emotions getting the better of him and looked upon the lapse as a “painful but maybe necessary” lesson.
Tonight, my emotions got the better of me like a father who cares about his sons. That does not excuse my actions and I apologize to everyone as in hindsight I should have not gotten involved. This is a painful but maybe necessary lesson for me.
— Jong Uichico (@coachjong) July 2, 2018
Troy Rike (Philippines)
The Gilas Cadet from Wake Forest University clarified his involvement in the brawl.
After Tiebreaker Times posted photos of Rike standing over downed Australian player Chris Goulding, Rike on Twitter clarified that he was actually preventing Goulding from being assaulted.
Just before I hear anything about this picture or my character. I was standing over him with both legs to protect him. You can check the footage, I’m actively pushing people off. https://t.co/69RiTfk98D
— Troy Rike (@troyrike) July 2, 2018
Thon Maker (Australia)
7’1 Milwaukee Bucks center went viral after he was recorded trying to flying kick Gilas players Andray Blatche and Terrence Romeo.
The former first-round NBA pick has apologized for his participation in the violence, mentioning his origins in Sudan as instrumental in making him reflect on his actions.
— Thon Maker ™ (@ThonMaker14) July 3, 2018
A footage of Maker displaying his non-basketball athletic abilities has become a hit with international sports media.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 2, 2018