The Australian Boomers were involved in a nasty incident Monday night in the final game of the first round of FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers.
Midway through the third quarter of a hotly contested contest, an offensive foul on Chris Goulding sparked one of the biggest basketball brawls in recent memory. Following the offensive foul, Daniel Kickert accelerated the situation by throwing an elbow at the Philippines’ Roger Ray Pogoy. What followed was absolute madess.
The ensuring brawl saw the entire Filipino team seemingly getting involved in the incident. Kickert, along with Thon Maker and many Filipino players could face sanctions for their roles in the altercation.
The Boomers were leading 79-48 at the time of the incident.
Officially, 13 players were ejected from the game for their actions. Four Australian - Nathan Sobey, Thon Maker, Chris Goudling and Daniel Kickert – along with nine of the 12 members of the Filipino roster were given their marching orders.
Farcically, the game briefly continued for another three minutes, with the Phillipines returning to the court with only three eligible players. The remaining Filipino players deliberately accumulated fouls and, one by one, were disqualified from the game until there were no eligible players remaining. The game was called with 1:57 remaining in the third quarter, with Australia leading 89-53.
Where to start after all that? It goes without saying the scenes witnessed on Monday night will be talked about for the weeks and months ahead.
Actions from many involved with the Filipino team were obviously unacceptable, and long term sanctions are unavoidable. Their apparent mischief in the aftermath was revealing.
For the Boomers, the prospect of sanctions must also be addressed.
Kickert is likely facing a long, and deserved, suspension for his role on the incident. His elbow to the face of Pogoy was the accelerant needed to set ablaze a game that had been getting more physical with every passing moment.
Maker will be looked at, with the vision of his leg flailing through the air not doing him any favours. Although it must be said that all of what followed Kickert’s elbow was accelerated by shameless aggression from the Filipino players.
Vision of Goulding being pinned to the ground and assaulted (there is no other way to describe what transpired) is confronting and not befitting of any sporting contest. Unacceptable is too mild a word; it was outrageous and serious outcomes were not far away.
In the aftermath, relief is a feeling that comes to mind for all involved with Australian basketball. As ugly as this evening turned out, things could have been much worse. It appears all involved with the Australian team have escaped the incident without serious physical injury.
Basketball Australia confirmed that everyone on the team is safe.
Thon Maker talked about the incident on his Instagram account.
Olgun Uluc reflects on the repercussions on what this could mean for Australia's Boomers moving forward.
FIBA has announced that it will open disciplinary proceedings against both teams.
Watch Basketball Australia CEO Anthony Moore as he addressed the media on this incident.