Bashed Boomer breaks silence on sickening fight
BOOMERS star Chris Goulding has suggested Basketball Australia will re-think its decision to move into the Asian basketball qualifying zone as a response to the sickening brawl between Australia and the Philippines.
The Melbourne United star, who returned to Australia on Wednesday morning, spoke for the first time about the moment he was stomped, punched, and kicked by a mob of up to 15 Philippines players and officials while lying unprotected on the ground.
Goulding, 29, was targeted by a rival Philippines bench player with the off-the-ball hit which sparked the brawl.
He said after teammate Daniel Kickert ran in and pushed the opposition player to protect himself, he was coward punched and fly-kicked from out of the blue before being surrounded by a mob of players and officials in a kicking circle.
It was only the intervention of Aussie NBA great Luc Longley's determination to push into the middle of the circle and stand over Goulding in protection that stopped the sickening beating.
Goulding revealed on Thursday morning that the mob assault felt like it lasted much longer than it did when he re-watched video of the wild brawl.
"It felt a lot longer than 15 seconds," Goulding told SEN Breakfast.
"There was no daylight for me whatsoever. It felt like a long time. Nathan Sobey, he tried to come and help, but he had a chair thrown at him and then he was coward punched."
"Originally I got up to try and see if we could try and break them (Kickert and a Philippines player) apart.
"The moment I got up, I was fly-kicked by a guy from the bench and then I was set upon. It happened from behind and then 10-15 guys were on top of me with chairs.
"I wasn't like, 'Oh my god I, could die'. I just wanted to try and protect my head and wait it out.
"It wasn't like they were hitting me with heavy shots."
He said he was incredibly thankful to the teammates and officials who came to help him, but also praised his teammates who stayed on the bench and didn't enter the fray to ensure the Boomers were able to finish with enough players to win the game.
He said hearing the fear in the voices of his family and fiance when speaking to them after the game was the hardest part of the entire ordeal.
"I was more disappointed that they'd been put in that position more than myself," he said.
He also suggested Australia's decision to qualify through Asia after previous qualification campaigns through Oceania, will now be re-assesed by Basketball Australia.
"This is our first time in Asia and going forward there's going to be serious conversations about what we do in the future," he said.
"In our next (qualifying) window we play Kazakhstan, Iran and Qatar. It's not a knock on these countries, but travelling there poses some serious safety risks as well.
He said Basketball Australia and its Asian counterparts will all realise that a "helluva" lot more now needs to be done to protect players and officials.
Goulding also denied the smack talk on the court was entirely out of the ordinary, but admitted it was extremely "chippy" between the two teams.
He also said the tensions between the two teams escalated to dangerous levels when the Philippines brought on a player off the bench to try and get under the Boomers' skin.
It came after Boomers' assistant coach Longley alleged Philippines coach Chot Reyes incited his players to act violently, blaming him for the ugly brawl that marred the game.
"It definitely was niggly," Goulding said.
'We stretch out to a decent lead and their coach, I think it's well documented, the things he said about taking it to us during a timeout. Then he subbed a player in, whose sole role was to ruffle us up. He was pinching elbowing, niggling.
"They weren't happy how they played so they wanted to take us down with them."
Goulding also said photoshopped fraudulent tweets accredited to him by some Philippines reporters were "vile" and "disgusting".
Despite the incredible uproar to the scandal, Goulding says he is feeling OK and ready to move on.
His health may be owed to the intervention of Longley.
Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis, meanwhile, fears the ugly scenes in the Philippines will make it harder to call on Australian NBA stars for international duty.
Aside from the physical and emotional toll on players and the reputational damage on the sport, Monday night's all-in brawl could have further consequences for the Boomers.
NBA teams are already reluctant to release players as it is for the two FIBA windows that fall in the league's off-season.
But the ugly events in Bulacan could provide them with another excuse to withhold top-line stars like Ben Simmons from joining the Boomers for anything short of World Cups or the Olympics.
Alternatively, players themselves may not want to risk their own safety for qualifiers in countries like the Philippines, where security measures were clearly not up to scratch.
Two current NBA players, Milwaukee Bucks pair Thon Maker and Matthew Dellavadova, were on Australia's roster for the match.
Maker is facing a possible FIBA suspension after he attempted numerous fly-kicks on Filipino opponents in amongst the carnage.
"Obviously that's one of the concerns ... what it means generally in terms of players' willingness to participate and put their hand up," Lemanis told reporters on Wednesday.
Daniel Kickert admitted he "overstepped" the mark by elbowing Philippines guard Roger Pogoy in the face.
Kickert is likely to receive a long suspension from the global governing body for his hit on Pogoy, which sparked the ugly third-quarter brawl. "I was put in a position where I obviously made an action which was regrettable and unfortunate," Kickert 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."
- with AAP