SBP's Robbie Puno doesn't think FIBA will suspend erring players

BOCAUE, Bulacan -- A fight resulting in 13 ejections ended the game between Gilas Pilipinas and Australia at the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan on Monday. The consequences are still to be determined.

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) Vice Chairman Robbie Puno said he does not think there will be suspensions from future games.

"Are there repercussions later on? As far as we know, FIBA doesn't do that. They''ll throw you out for the game but there are no suspensions that we know of that happens with FIBA," Puno said. "In that sense, we probably dodged a bullet because we're not looking at suspensions."

Australia's Christopher Goulding, Daniel Kickert, Thon Maker, and Nathan Sobey were ejected.

For Gilas, nine players were removed from the court: Terrence Romeo, Jayson Castro, Carl Bryan Cruz, Calvin Abueva, Blatche, Roger Pogoy, Troy Rosario, Japeth Aguilar, and Matthew Wright.

June Mar Fajardo, Baser Amer, and Gabe Norwood were left to finish the rest of the game.

"Let's face it we [had] three players left. There's a difference with how they throw out players -- how FIBA does it. In the NBA, you leave the bench then you're out," Puno said. "You'll see that there were some people who left the bench, didn't throw a punch, and because they didn't throw a punch they remained on the court."

Puno pointed out that there were already a number of factors that prompted the commotion. During Australia's practice on Sunday, Australia team officials removed on-court decals of sponsors. During pregame warm-ups, Puno saw Kickert push Wright.

"The referees simply did not control. I think there was an attempt of disrespect and I think we stood our ground," Puno said. "We don't want these things to happen. It's a little bit of an embarrassment, I guess. But we stand together. This was a bad situation that I think we can only hope to get some good out of it and say that we showed ourselves as a united team."

Even though Puno does not expect any suspensions for the Gilas players, he does feel the need to assure FIBA that this will not happen again in the Philippines.

The Philippines will be host of the 2023 World Cup.

"We don't expect suspensions. What I think will happen is in the future, this is the venue that we're going to have at the World Cup. For us and I think you'll see the sudden events that occurred caught our security a little bit flat-footed," Puno said. "I'm sure in the future board meetings of FIBA, it's something MVP (SBP Chairman Emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan) will be asked about. We have to reassure everybody that this is not going to happen again."