THE coach of the Philippine team involved in a ‘basket brawl’ with Australia has accused Australian player Daniel Kickert of attacking his players before the game even started. The Australian camp rejects the claim.
Philippine Coach Chot Reyes launched an attack on Kickert, placing the blame on the Aussie for the ugly affair.
Reyes was apologetic about the situation getting out of hand but alleged Kickert hit several Filipino stars during the warm-up, which contributed to the flare-up that saw Kickert floor Roger Ray Pogoy after the latter committed a foul over Australian guard Chris Goulding.
“It’s absolutely unacceptable but the reality is Kickert was hitting our players during the warm-ups,” Reyes told reporters. “He hit Bryan Cruz, he hit Matthew Wright, he hit Pogoy and he hit Calvin Abueva even before the game started.”
Speaking on ABC News Breakfast, Basketball Australia CEO Anthony Moore said: “There was nothing prior to this incident that you could say, ‘It started with a niggle here and a niggle there.’ There was an incident and then it exploded from there.”
Tensions boiled over when Goulding was fouled and then shoved to the floor with four minutes remaining in the third quarter courtesy of a forearm to the throat from Pogoy. Kickert reacted immediately, elbowing Pogoy in the face. That was the cue for all hell to break loose.
Officials pondered whether to let the teams back on the court. The Philippine team lost, with only three players remaining versus five of Australia.