Boomers assistant coach Luc Longley claims Philippines coach Chot Reyes incited his players to act violently in their World Cup qualifier, blaming him for the ugly brawl that ended the game.
Three-time NBA champion Longley touched down in Brisbane early Wednesday morning with Australian head coach Andrej Lemanis and immediately made his views known, describing the all-in fight as the worst thing he’d ever seen on a basketball court.
Longley, who rushed to the aid of Chris Goulding as he was set upon by a dozen Filipino players and officials in a horrific pile-on, said Reyes was “embarrassed” by how his team was playing and urged them to hit back at the Boomers.
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Footage of an angry Reyes during a time-out showed him telling his players: “Hit somebody. Put somebody on their ass.”
Longley said Reyes had also sent on Roger Pogoy who took numerous “cheap swings” at Goulding, one of which felled the Australian guard and prompted Daniel Kickert to retaliate with the elbow that sparked the third-quarter brawl.
“I do believe their coach, Chot Reyes incited them to come out and thug us. I think there’s video evidence of that,” Longley told reporters.
“This is out of the party line, but I’m most disturbed with their head coach.
“I think he was embarrassed by the way his team were playing. I think he was embarrassed by the kind of shape they were in, I think he was embarrassed by how they fought.”
Longley said Reyes shook his hand after the game but did not look him in the eye.
“I thought that was poor form given what had happened,” he said.
“He should take some responsibility for that on the spot and I think he was embarrassed.
“I think that’s where a lot of it came from, right from there.
“If you listen to his diatribe after the game I think it verifies it. I’m upset with him more than anybody.
“He let his team take selfies, gangster selfies, on the baseline after an event like that.
“That just shows a total lack of control or respect.”
Kickert admitted he “overstepped” the mark by elbowing Pogoy in the face and has thrown himself at the mercy of FIBA as they consider sanctions.
Kickert is likely to receive a long suspension from the global governing body for his hit on chief Filipino aggressor, which sparked the ugly third-quarter brawl.
“I was put in a position where I obviously made an action which was regrettable and unfortunate,” the 35-year-old told reporters in Brisbane.
“I think I’ve overstepped a little bit with my response to the escalation in the game.
“I regret those things but I’m going to let FIBA do everything they need to do to take the time, go through the process and come to the answers that they see fit and bring down the sanctions they bring down.”
Head coach Andrej Lemanis provided a qualified defence of Kickert, saying he only delivered the elbow after Pogoy had sent Chris Goulding tumbling onto the floor with a raised forearm.
“I think the game’s obviously emotional. There was an escalation in the amount of physicality that happened in the game,” Lemanis said.
“He saw someone hit one of his teammates and he took a response and as he admitted right there, perhaps that was over the line in terms of the impact of the response.”
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop on Wednesday confirmed Australian consular staff in the Philippines were called on to assist the Boomers to leave the country on Tuesday night.
“It was a tense situation and we didn’t want to leave anything to chance,” Ms Bishop told Sky News.
“So, officials assisted them get through the airport, through border control and the like, until they were safely on the plane.”