Thoughts on Gilas' FIBA sanctions

Thoughts on Gilas' FIBA sanctions

Jayson Castro and Andray Blatche are among 10 Gilas players slapped with suspensions for their involvement in the Philippines-Australia "basketbrawl." Asuncion

MANILA, Philippines – FIBA lowered the boom on both the Philippines and Australia. But we got it worse as expected.

To wit: “The following 10 players are suspended for unsportsmanlike behavior and, in the case of Roger Pogoy, also for inciting unsportsmanlike behavior (in brackets the number of games of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Qualifiers): Japeth Aguilar and Matthew Wright (1 game each); Terrence Romeo, Jayson Castro William, Andray Blatche and Jeth Rosario (3 games each); Roger Pogoy, Carl Cruz and Jio Jalalon (5 games each); Calvin Abueva (6 games, due also to prior unsportsmanlike behavior in a FIBA competition). No sanction is imposed on Gabe Norwood.”

“Assistant Coach Joseph Uichico is suspended for 3 games for unsportsmanlike behavior. Head Coach Vincent ‘Chot’ Reyes is suspended for 1 game and shall pay a disciplinary fine of CHF 10,000 for inciting unsportsmanlike behavior.”

“Philippines' national federation, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, Inc (SBP), is sanctioned for the unsportsmanlike behavior of its delegation members and of its public, as well as for insufficient organization of the game. Philippines will play the next home game behind closed doors while a ban for two more home games has been placed under a probationary period of 3 years. SBP shall also pay a disciplinary fine of CHF 250,000.”

Honestly, I thought the sanctions were lighter than I expected. Aguilar and Wright one game? While the others got three or more? I thought that other players would have gotten a one-year ban for joining the fray when they weren’t even lined up. In fact, Allein Maliksi wasn’t even mentioned in the report. So we dodged a few bullets there.

A closed-door game and being possibly docked two home games depending on behavior and another flare out? Now this hurts. But think about it because we were initially, according to SBP President Al Panlilio, were supposed to have three closed door games. So I’ll take the one to the three.

But that begs three points.

The first is it has to hurt financially. Think of the lost revenue from gate receipts and sponsorships. That is what helps fund the program. Even if partially.

The fines… well, they are embarrassing. They are also meant to show everyone that the next time this happens… it will be more of the same but worse for repeat offenders.

And second, it’s that home-court advantage. Honestly, when we beat Korea during the 2013 FIBA Asia Championships — sorry, but I felt we got lucky. The homecourt advantage was played to the hilt. If that were played elsewhere, we might have lost. Further, we haven’t beaten Korea since, right? You can say you are over the hump when you repeatedly accomplish something.

So how come the home-court advantage didn’t work against Australia. Look, they are a much better team than we are. And they didn’t even field their best and we got blown off the court.

Nevertheless, think of this: imagine if the hosting were held elsewhere.Yung iba pa ang kikita. So I’ll take the closed door game. At least there will be television coverage.

And third, everyone has to be on their best behavior. Will other teams test that patience? None of our next opponents are issued a warning. If they knock someone down, how do you react? Everyone has to be aware of the stakes here. Another incident and those two closed-door games will be called into action. And if it is another all-out brawl, then this time, I would hazard to say that might have an effect on hosting other matches.

In the days after the brawl, and in a discussion with some former PBA players, they were of the opinion that the hosting of the 2023 World Cup was in jeopardy. In a column I previously wrote, I didn’t think it was. However, should another incident of that sort happen, well, all bets are off.

Another point is the composition of the next team when we play Iran and Qatar in the next window. You hear all these names being bandied about. The question is — will they be loaned out? As Panlilio said, the SBP is discussing things with the PBA.

With Reyes and Uichico out for the next game, I figure Nash Racela will be back at the helm so the system will still be run. We could possibly see Norman Black return to national team duty as well. If there is a national pool for players can there not be for coaches?

Sure. Except that coaches are split into different camps. Look, let’s not mince words here — people want to handle the national team. Any national team for the matter. There’s the prestige and a feeder program for what they have built.

Now if you ask me, this is an interesting time. We can see former players recalled for national team duty. Ranidel De Ocampo, Larry Fonacier, Marc Pingris, LA Tenorio, plus some Gilas Cadets. It would also be nice to expand the pool. JP Erram needs a chance. Does this pave the way for Greg Slaughter’s return? It isn’t as simple as sticking in the talented players. It is who will fit the system and play certain roles.

I think we will see the return of some familiar faces because it will alleviate chemistry and system concerns. But there will be new faces as well.

I was asked over television if this affects our chances of advancing to the next round of the FIBA World Cup. Sure it does. But this is also an opportunity to show how deep and talented we are. Well, that depends on who is released, right?

How we proceed from here is just as crucial. If we learn from the fallout of “Basketbrawl in Bocaue,” then it just might be the impetus for something better.