Basketball Australia is unlikely to appeal FIBA bans handed down to three players — Daniel Kickert, Thon Maker and Chris Goulding — for their roles in the ugly brawl with the Philippines in the World Cup qualifier in Manila on July 2.
Kickert, who sparked the fracas with his stray elbow, was hardest hit, suspended for five international games. He won’t be available for the Boomers until next February.
Milwaukee Bucks star Maker was handed a three-match sanction while Goulding was banned for one match.
The game’s governing body, FIBA, also suspended 10 Philippines players for a total of 35 games. Assistant coach Joseph Uichico was banned for three games, while head coach Vincent ‘Chot’ Reyes was suspended for one game and fined for inciting unsportsmanlike conduct.
The heaviest penalties were handed to Calvin Abueva (six games, due to prior offences), and Roger Pogoy and Carl Cruz (both five games).
The national Philippines basketball organisation was fined 250,000 Swiss francs ($A337,000) and ordered to play one home game behind closed doors, while it will also be on probation for three years.
Basketball Australia was fined 100,000 Swiss francs ($A135,000) for the Boomers’ role in the third-quarter incident and for removing floor stickers from the court during practice on the eve of the game.
In a surprise move, FIBA also suspended the match officials for 12 months.
Basketball Australia has 14 days to decide whether to appeal against the sanctions, but chief executive Anthony Moore said “it’s unlikely we will do that although it’s something that will be a conversation with the Players’ Association and the players”.
“Thon is in transit so we will be talking to his agent in the U.S. so it’s something we will address in the coming 24 hours,” Moore said.
“We have a scheduled BA board meeting tomorrow so it’s something that we will talk through.”
Basketball Australia may also impose its own penalties after a review, although they may be concurrent.
The Australian Basketballers’ Association said in a statement that it would not appeal the penalties on behalf of the players, but it was seeking further clarification from FIBA regarding sanctions imposed on some officials and fans involved.
“This has been a truly difficult period for our players,” association chief executive Jacob Holmes said.
“We hope the game can now move forward and the focus can shift to our Boomers performing at their very best as individuals and as a team on the court.”
Al Panlilio, president of Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), the Philippines basketball body, said the organisation had accepted the disciplinary panel’s decision and was in the process of reviewing it, in case there was potential to appeal.
“The SBP, together with the Gilas national basketball team, apologise to our countrymen and to the basketball community at large for our conduct to the incident,” the organisation said in a statement.
“We reaffirm the principle of no violence in any form on the basketball court or off it.”
Kickert put out a statement through his NBL side, the Sydney Kings, accepting his penalty.
Moore said that Basketball Australia considered Goulding to have been unfortunate to have been banned having been found guilty of “inciting unsportsmanlike behaviour”.
“The findings of the panel were that throughout the game there was some niggle between Chris and a couple of players, and FIBA took the view that that perhaps contributed to the third quarter incident,” Moore said.
“Given everything we saw with Chris under the basket with 20 players on, that’s a little tough to swallow and that’s a conversation we will have as a board tomorrow and with Chris.”
Moore said that FIBA findings made no mention of racist remarks made by the Australian camp, as had been alleged by a Philippines-based photojournalist.
“It was proven to be absolutely baseless,” Moore said of the allegation.
Australia and the Philippines are not scheduled to meet again unless they face each other at the FIBA World Cup or the next Asia Cup.