BASKETBALL Australia has moved quickly to assure NBA clubs their Boomers players will be safe on national duty in the emotion-charged and politically sensitive fallout to the savage all-in brawl in the Philippines.

Milwaukee Bucks players Matthew Dellavedova and Thon Maker were part of the Boomers squad involved in the ugly scenes in the FIBA World Cup qualifier in the Philippines on Monday night.

The Philippines' Andray Blache shoves Thon Maker out of the way so he can reach Daniel Kickert.
The Philippines' Andray Blache shoves Thon Maker out of the way so he can reach Daniel Kickert.

Maker was one of the four Australians ejected for his role after being punched from behind in the shocking melee along with nine Filipino players.

Meanwhile Dellavedova was on the Boomers bench, which was kept on the sidelines by coaching staff to avoid being thrown out of the game.

Australia is considered a strong medal chance at next year's World Cup and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with a large majority of the squad to be made up of NBA talent.

Ben Simmons (Philadelphia), Joe Ingles (Utah), Patty Mills (San Antonio), Aron Baynes (Boston), Jonah Bolden (Philadelphia), and Dante Exum (free agent) along with the Bucks duo will form the world-class core of the Boomers.


Blache is all over Mathew Develladova. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
Blache is all over Mathew Develladova. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)


NBA clubs can be reluctant to release players for international duty at the best of times.

They do not need any extra motivation to keep their highly paid talent on ice in the off-season and the vision of Boomers players getting hit with chairs, kicked and coward-punched would make them understandably nervous.

Moore initiated discussions with the Bucks on Tuesday and will speak to the other NBA clubs in the coming days to ease any concerns.


Thon Maker was in the thick of it for Australia. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
Thon Maker was in the thick of it for Australia. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)


"We have really good relationships with the general management of NBA clubs. It's a continual discussion and dialogue we have about competition windows and camps,'' Moore said.

"It's certainly something we'll be picking up in the next couple of days with the NBA clubs.''

Australia will go through to the second round of qualifying for next year's World Cup which could include a number of trips to the Middle East. NBA players will be in season during the windows for games in September, November and February.

Boomers coaching staff and players were instructed to leave all media interviews to Moore who held a press conference in Brisbane on Tuesday.


Basketball Australia CEO Anthony Moore speaks to the media. (AAP Image/Jono Searle)
Basketball Australia CEO Anthony Moore speaks to the media. (AAP Image/Jono Searle)


Some NBL clubs also gagged their players from speaking about the incident.

In a wide ranging number of conversations post-brawl, Moore spoke to officials at the Philippines Basketball Association after the incident. He said they were "apologetic" but also concerned about the welfare of their own players.

The Philippines accused Daniel Kickert of hitting their players during the warm-up which increased tensions. Vision has since emerged of a Filipino player tripping Kickert to spark the pre-game angst.

Given the long, football-like World Cup qualification, it could be a number of days before the sanctions are handed out.


A selfie? Really? After all that?
A selfie? Really? After all that?


Moore thought the sight of Philippines players posing for a selfie after the brawl was "pretty odd" and that it was dangerous for the game to continue.

"You've been in a major altercation and then to be seemingly enjoying the moment, I found that (selfie) very strange,'' he said.

"I found it extraordinary that in those circumstances, in a tinder box environment like that, that the game continues with three players (for the Philippines).''



The Philippines are set to host the 2023 FIBA World Cup and Moore expects FIBA to seek assurances that they can conduct the tournament safely.

He said Basketball Australia would also need the Philippines to guarantee the Boomers' safety if they were to ever return.

"You can rest assured that discussion (with FIBA re: 2023 World Cup) will happen. Security plans are a key part of what we do now,'' Moore said.




Basketball Australia apologised to the Philippines for ripping up a slippery on-court advertising sticker before the game that ridiculously added to tensions.

But he said a lot of damage had been done to the sport's overall image.

"It's a setback for us. It's a pretty dark day. We need to work incredibly hard to repair that image,'' he said.

"This is major news all over the world. There's a lot of commentary around this. reputationally, we've taken a hit. No question.''



What a shame that this is what made the headlines. (Getty Images)
What a shame that this is what made the headlines. (Getty Images)



WHAT a horrible look for Aussie hoops.

For all the incredible gains that basketball has made in this country in recent years, nobody was talking about the revitalised NBL, the Boomers' genuine medal hopes at the next World Cup and Olympics or the latest Ben Simmons news.

It was all about the wild, vicious and shocking scenes in the World Cup qualifier between Australia and the Philippines.

It's all anyone will be talking about when it comes to basketball in this country, for quite some time.

Vision of the incident has gone global.

It almost broke Twitter.



Basketball Australia CEO Anthony Moore got on the front foot and held a press conference in Brisbane where he conceded that the game's image took a hit.

He was spot on when he said it was a pretty 'dark day' for the game.

He was also right when he said Australia were not blameless for what took place at Philippine Stadium, south of Manila.

The elbow from Boomers forward Daniel Kickert on a Filipino opponent was completely unnecessary.

There is a right way and a wrong way to stand up for your teammate.

An elbow to the throat is not the right way.



Tensions were already running high due to a silly dispute over on-court stickers and even sillier allegations of some niggle in the warm-up. The home side was also edgy because they were getting belted.

In a timeout, their coach called on them to put the Aussie players on the floor.

It was a tinder box.

There is still absolutely no excuse for the behaviour of the Philippines players, coaching staff and spectators.

It was as reprehensible as it was dangerous. It was sickening. It was downright disgusting.

Philippines basketball should be collectively ashamed of itself.

World governing FIBA should throw the book at them.

But Kickert and the high-flying, high-kicking Thon Maker will get their rightful whack too.

None of it will compare to the black eye that basketball was sporting yesterday.