The International Basketball Federation, or FIBA, is conducting an investigation into a bench-clearing brawl between Australia and the Philippines that led to the ejection of 13 players.
The fight broke out during a 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifying game Monday in the Philippine Arena outside Manila. Australia was leading the host squad 79-48 late in the third quarter when Roger Pogoy of the Philippines struck Australian opponent Chris Goulding with an elbow. Goulding’s teammate Daniel Kickert retaliated by shoving Pogoy to the floor, sparking the free-for-all.
The on-court anger spread into the crowd, with at least one fan throwing a folding chair at the players.
The game resumed with only three eligible Philippines players. The game was called after two of the Philippine players fouled out and Australia holding a commanding 89-53 lead.
FIBA issued a statement saying it will open disciplinary proceedings against both teams, with final decisions to be “communicated in the coming days.”
Anthony Moore, the head of Basketball Australia, said his players were “bruised and battered” but not seriously hurt. Moore apologized for the team’s actions, saying it was “not the spirit in which we aim to play basketball.”
Among the players ejected was Australian center Thon Maker, who launched several wild high-flying kicks at Philippine players during the melee. The Sudanese-born Maker, a star with the National Basketball League’s Milwaukee Bucks, tweeted his apologies hours after the brawl, saying he was “deeply disappointed over the actions displayed” during the game.
“Being from a war-torn country, basketball for me has always been a means to bring people together,” Maker said.
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