Gilas players say sorry for failing to keep emotions in check leading to brawl
Tempers flared and emotions got the better of Gilas Pilipinas during a distasteful fight with Australia in the Fiba World Cup Qualifiers before a hometown crowd at Philippine Arena Monday night.
Forward Japeth Aguilar, who was among the nine Filipino players ejected after the brawl, said the way he and his teammates reacted was “regrettable.”
— Japeth Aguilar (@japethaguilar35) July 3, 2018
Aguilar also said that had he and the rest of Gilas’ kept their emotions in check, the situation could’ve been controlled.
“The incident last night could have been dealt differently but emotions were running high. In the heat of the moment, we just wanted to protect our brother,” Aguilar wrote on Twitter.
“I admit that we acted on emotion rather than logic and this is regrettable because the situation could’ve been pacified and could’ve ended differently.”
Aguilar said being part of the national team means having a responsibility to represent the country and the people the best way possible.
“As national team athletes, we are representing more than just ourselves as we wear our uniforms. How we acted last night is not a just representation of the Filipino people.”
Unfortunate series of events that took place tonight. Heat of the battle and emotions won out, but in the end we strive to show the best of who WE are.
— Gabe Norwood (@GNorwood5) July 2, 2018
Out of 12 Gilas players, only team captain Gabe Norwood, four-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo and Baser Amer had the presence of mind to stay calm amid the ruckus.
“Unfortunate series of events that took place tonight. Heat of the battle and emotions won out, but in the end we strive to show the best of who WE are,” Norwood wrote on Twitter.
Gilas’ naturalized center Andray Blatche and national team star guard Jayson Castro were the latest to apologize for the incident.
“I wanna apologize to my teammates and the Australia team for my wrongdoings. I have a son and that’s not what I want him to follow behind,” Blatche posted on his Instagram account.
Blatche earlier went after former Gilas captain Jimmy Alapag, who was one of the players who tweeted that the incident was “embarrassing,” but seemed to have eventually calmed down.
The usually mild-mannered Castro, who was caught throwing a solid punch against one of the Australian players, meanwhile, recognized that their desire to defend their teammates just made things worse.
“I’m not that kind of person. Filipinos are not that kind of people. I should’ve controlled my emotions because we carry the name of the country when we’re playing for Gilas,” said Castro in Filipino on an Instagram post.
Castro said he aspires to be good to example to kids, especially his own, and vowed not to get involved again in that kind of incident.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas has also issued an apology for “having breached the bounds of traditional Filipino hospitality.”
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