Basket-brawl: Big problem with tasteless selfie
THE extraordinary all-in brawl between Australia and the Philippines in their FIBA World Cup qualifier was disgusting to say the least - but one act after the fist fight calmed down added another ugly footnote to the episode.
After fists, elbows, knees and even chairs were thrown by players from both camps, FIBA officials took more than half an hour to deliberate over whether the match should continue.
The sickening scenes that erupted with just over four minutes remaining in the third quarter led everyone who witnessed the fight to conclude that surely the match would be abandoned. But to fans' and commentators' amazement, the show went on.
However, before play resumed, some members of the Philippines team clearly wanted to create some memories about being part of one of the darkest chapters in basketball history.
Rather than reflect on how they could possibly be caught up in the disturbing outburst, they decided to smile, say "cheese" and take a selfie on the court.
Unsurprisingly, the tasteless moment was slammed on social media, with Aussie basketball icon Andrew Bogut taking to Twitter with the sarcastic response of: "Class."
This just happened. After one of the wildest on-court brawls in recent memory, the Philippines team pauses to pose for a selfie, like there’s something to celebrate pic.twitter.com/fTXAaBA5lp— Mitchell Scott (@WhippingBoySEN) 2 July 2018
Neither side was blameless in the incident that was described by Fox Sports commentator Matt Russell as "deplorable and abhorrent". Channel 9 sports presenter Tim Gilbert was on the money when he said on Today the scenes resembled a riot rather than anything you'd expect to see at a basketball game.
Tensions exploded after Boomers guard Chris Goulding was fouled and shoved to the floor. Aussie Daniel Kickert retaliated immediately, elbowing an opposition player in the face.
Chaos ensued as the Filipino side raced into the melee. They came from everywhere as the benches cleared and all hell broke loose.
At one point several Filipinos could be seen piling on top of an Aussie star, throwing punches while he lay helpless on the ground. A chair was also thrown at an Australian player's head.
If it wasn't already, the match became a farce as 13 players - including nine Filipinos - were ejected. The game restarted with five Boomers taking on a three-man opposition before those players intentionally fouled out, gifting Australia an 89-53 win in Bulacan.
Basketball Australia's chief executive Anthony Moore issued a statement following the match to apologise for the Boomers' involvement in the violent incident.
"Basketball Australia deeply regrets the incident in tonight's match between the Boomers and the Philippines in Manila," Moore said.
"We are extremely disappointed with what happened and our role in it. "This is not the spirit in which sport should be played and certainly not in the spirit in which we aim to play basketball.
"We apologise to our fans and will await the penalties to be handed down."
All eyes will now turn to FIBA who will assess the fight with the likely outcome of suspensions or other disciplinary actions to players from both countries.
Some absolute garbage coming out of the Philippines after the brawl. No way you can justify the behaviour of their players and officials. It was disgraceful. You should be kicked out of the #FIBAWC rounds. And how about that selfie????? Shocking https://t.co/KD1pSc5trB— Greg Davis (@GregDavis_cmail) 2 July 2018