Press Release
July 3, 2018

Statement of Senator Sonny Angara, Chairman of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, on the Australia Boomers-Gilas Pilipinas brawl

It was an unfortunate event but I stand by the Gilas team on this. One may criticize how the game ended, but the true test of a fan is to stick with his team win or lose, through thick and thin.

It was unfortunate that things got out of hand. It could have been prevented if the referees had tightened officiating to better control the game.

In the heat of the moment, the players on both sides had to stand up for each other. It is not only a universal human reaction in a team sport, but for those who have played the game, looking after each other is part of the brotherhood among team members.

But let me make this crystal clear: sanctions must be meted out, apologies extended as true sportsmen would, nonplayers who joined the melee should be punished, and above all, lessons learned so that this should not happen again.

We would like to reassure the world that is an isolated event and Filipinos remain the most hospitable race , in and out of the court, as millions of visitors who visit us annually would attest.

As a team and as a nation, let us move on from this incident, and focus on the national project of hosting the best FIBA Word Cup ever, in 2023.

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