WHILE the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) doesn't expect to be suspended for the brawl between Gilas Pilipinas and Australia's Boomers, players involved could actually be banned based on previous rulings by the world basketball governing body Fiba on such incidents.
The Chinese basketball federation was fined and players were banned following the Brazil-China fight in 2010, and that was a friendly.
So who would be left for Gilas — the Philippines advanced to the second round of the 2019 Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers with a 4-2 record — if the players who figured in the melee are suspended?
Involved in the fight were nine players active for Monday’s match — Andray Blatche, Jayson Castro, Terrence Romeo, Roger Pogoy, Calvin Abueva, Japeth Aguilar, Troy Rosario, Matthew Wright and Carl Bryan Cruz - along with reserves Jio Jalalon and Allein Maliksi.
Kiefer Ravena is out as he serves an 18-month Fiba-imposed doping ban, as well as NLEX teammate Kevin Alas who is recovering from his ACL surgery from consideration.
Three players are sure to escape penalties as June Mar Fajardo, Gabe Norwood, and Baser Amer stayed out of the brawl.
Chot Reyes still has players from his original 24-man pool which was released back in July last year. They can be called up anytime, just like how the team did with Amer before the Australia match.
Players from that list include Raymond Almazan, who has not appeared for national team practices since the first window back in November, as well as Christian Standhardinger, Mac Belo, Kevin Ferrer, Mike Tolomia and Norbert Torres.
Bobby Ray Parks is also part of that list, as well as Gilas cadets Troy Rike and Abu Tratter, who have made themselves available for the team in the past windows.
Kobe Paras could also be an option after his stint with the Gilas cadets in the recently-concluded Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup.
He was joined there by college players Thirdy Ravena, Isaac Go, Matt Nieto, Robert Bolick, Javee Mocon, CJ Perez, Ricci Rivero, Paul Desiderio, Juan Gomez de Liaño, Will Gozum, J-Jay Alejandro, Arvin Tolentino, Ken Tuffin, Vince Tolentino, and Prince Rivero, as well as Batang Gilas standouts Kai Sotto and Carl Tamayo.
PBA players also remain an option, but that depends on the agreement struck between the league and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP).
There is also a growing clamor for the inclusion of guys like Greg Slaughter, Marcio Lassiter and Paul Lee, players who can no doubt provide a big boost for the national team granting their availability.
One thing’s for sure: Reyes has his work cut out for him.
Luckily for him, he has the time as the first window of the second round of the qualifiers is not until September. But that remains a tough job to do as he’ll be pressed for time to come up with a cohesive and competent Gilas Pilipinas squad for the next series of games.
Gilas Pilipinas braces for a familiar foe when it opens its second round campaign in the Asian qualifiers against Iran.
The Iranians topped Group D with their 5-1 record and will be joined by Kazakhstan (3-3) and Qatar (2-4) in the next round, moving closer to their dreams of clinching a spot in the 2019 Fiba World Cup in China.
The three squads join Group B's Australia (5-1), the Philippines (4-2), and Japan (2-4) in the newly-formed Group F.
The Philippines will fly to Tehran to take on Team Melli on September 13, before hosting Qatar on September 17.
In the other bracket, New Zealand, Korea Republic, China, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria are set to battle it out in the Group E field.
Only the best three teams from each group, as well as the better fourth-ranked team, earning tickets to the worldwide basketball tilt.
If China finishes in the top four of Group E, fourth-ranked teams in both groups will be qualified, giving Asia eight slots in the World Cup.