NLEX coach Yeng Guiao criticized the behavior of the Australian team in a fight-marred Fiba Basketball World Cup Asian qualifier against Gilas Pilipinas, saying the visitors have no one to blame but themselves.
Guiao, a former national coach, said the Australians have no one to blame but themselves after the fracas that led to 13 ejections, nine from the home side, and left the Boomers at the receiving end of blows from both players and fans.
The NLEX coach also had no problem with the retaliation of the Gilas players.
“I think mas nakakahiya kung pinabayaan natin ‘yung player natin na ginanoon na lang na wala tayong ginawa sa sarili nating bansa,” said Guiao. “Normal reaction ‘yung magagalit ka talaga.”
Guiao also took exception to the statement of Australia assistant coach and former NBA player Luc Longley accusing Gilas coach Chot Reyes of inciting the players in a timeout, moments before the brawl.
Guiao said the Australians set the tone for the controversial ending to the match when they removed the decals from court during practice on the eve of the match without bothering to seek permission from their hosts.
“The Australians are looking for someone to blame,” Guiao told PBA reporters on Wednesday. “Ang dapat i-blame ay ‘yung Australians who are really, I think, looking for trouble.
“The tone was set the day before when they were already ripping the decals without any permission. I coached the national team, I would never do that coming into any venue. And you have to respect, whatever you say,” said Guiao.
Guiao also believes Australia should apologize because Kickert triggered the brawl.
“What Gilas players did was, to me, a natural human instinct in that situation. Actually, ako, I think it’s the Australians who need to apologize, not Gilas, because it’s Kickert’s action that started the whole thing,” Guiao said.
Reyes was criticized by Longley for inciting the brawl by telling his players to “hit somebody” during a timeout.
Guiao begged to differ.
“I don’t believe in Luc Longley saying it’s Chot Reyes (who's to blame). Chot Reyes, wala namang ginawa si Chot. ‘Yung sinabi niya, well that’s debatable but what Kickert did was the trigger of everything.
“To me, what’s more embarrassing was that if Kickert did that in front of our countrymen with us hosting, and didn’t suffer any consequences after doing that, to me, ‘yun ang nakakahiya na nandito ka sa Pilipinas, binagsakan ka ng siko ng napakalaking tao, kung ‘yun ang naging kapatid ko, naging tatay mo, ‘yun ang naging anak mo, kahit na ‘yung aso ko ginanun niya, makakatikim ‘yun sa akin,” said Guiao.
“Kickert, I think, started it all and he didn’t even apologize. What he only said what it was regrettable. And all he said was it’s unfortunate. But he almost killed somebody and he didn’t apologize. Sa akin kapag hindi ka nagalit doon, hindi ka normal.
“Ako, nagpapaka-totoo lang ako na I don’t think it’s Chot Reyes’ fault. It’s Kickert’s fault, he started it and the bad thing about it is our Gilas players were profusely apologizing for what happened. The guy who started this never apologized. He was only saying it was regrettable and unfortunate,” said Guiao.
Guiao, however, said the sight of fans joining the fray and attacking the Australian players musn't be condoned.
“I will not justify that. Mali talaga ‘yun. I agree, mali ‘yun. Siguro ‘yung burst of emotion after that, na-awat na, na-ano na. ‘Yun, hindi ko maja-justify. But that instant, split second where there were a burst of emotion, kung tao ka, nakita mo ‘yun, mag-rereact ka talaga. To me, it’s just being human,” said Guiao.