MVP silent on thuggery of his Gilas attack dogs: Did he light the fire with ‘bawi na lang tayo’ tweet?
Why has bilyonaryo Manny V. Pangilinan not spoken on the bad behaviour of his Gilas basketball team who cleared the bench and ganged up on Australian players at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue City on July 2?
Pangilinan, the moving force behind Samahan ng Basketbol ng Pilipinas, has not made a personal statement on the issue two days after the incident.
MVP has not sent out a tweet since he made a big fuss about the Australian players ripping off the PLDT sponsor decals on the basketball court a day before the FIBA-sanctioned game:
Aussie team ripping our/Fiba logos on the court of Phil Arena w/o asking permission. We will not back down. Those stickers go in. Regardless. pic.twitter.com/LMwyiBNtG4</a >
— Manny V. Pangilinan (@iamMVP) July 1, 2018
In contrast, Boomers chief executive Anthony Moore issued an apology just hours after the melee: “Basketball Australia deeply regrets the incident in tonight’s match between the Boomers and the Philippines in Manila. We are extremely disappointed with what happened and our role in it. This is not the spirit in which sport should be played and certainly not in the spirit in which we aim to play basketball.”
Pangilinan’s group only issued an apology after realizing that the majority of Filipinos did not agree with their officials and players engaging a visiting team in a free-for-all:
— Gilas Pilipinas Army (@gilasarmy) July 3, 2018
Before this apology, the players and officials acted arrogant and defiant and even had the gall to pose for a selfie just minutes after hammering their opponents.
Pangilinan’s TNT guard Terrence Romeo’s tweet said it all for the Gilas mindset:
Dun sa mga kapwa namin players na nag sasabing embarassing kami wala kaming paki alam sa inyo . Kami mag kaka teammate sa loob kailangan namin mag tulungan. Hindi namin pwede pabayaan yung isat isa. Kung embarassing kami sa mata niyo bat di kayo mag convert ng australian.
— Terrence Romeo (@tbvromeo) July 2, 2018
Kahit anong sabihin niyo nag lalaro kami para sa isat isa para sa kapwa natin pilipino higit sa lahat para sa bayan. Hindi niyo alam ang sacrifice namin Kung para sainyo mali tulungan namin yung kakampi namin sinasaktan problema niyo na yun basta kami walang iwanan tapos!!!
— Terrence Romeo (@tbvromeo) July 2, 2018
The last tweet from Pangilinan, however, has taken an ominous tone in the light of the violence carried out by his players and officials in the game. What did he mean when he tweeted: “Bawi na lang bukas”?
&md ash; Manny V. Pangilinan (@iamMVP) July 1, 2018
His protege, SBP president Al Panlilio admitted that the stickergate had lit the fire for his group and dictated the mindset of players and officials in the Boomers game.
“Kapag ganun, magkakasamaan talaga ng loob ‘yang mga ‘yan. And we are a hospitable country. In fact, when we host Fiba tournaments, they wanted it in Manila because we take care of them. The mere fact that we reacted meant that we felt we were also disrespected in a way especially what happened last night,” said Panlilio in a TV interview after the brawl.
Australia assistant coach and Chicago Bulls legend Luc Longley was convinced Pangilinan’s first choice coach, Chot Reyes, instigated the brawl with a direct order to his players.
“I do believe their coach Chot Reyes incited them to come out and thug us,. There’s video evidence of that. Then he substituted a thug out there who took three or four cheap swings at [Goulding]. 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 was playing. I think he was embarrassed by the shape they were in. I think he was embarrassed by how they fought,” Longley said.
“He wouldn’t look me in the eye at the end of the game when I shook his hand. I think he was embarrassed and that’s where a lot of it came from. I’m upset with him more than anybody. To let his team take gangster selfies on the baseline after something like that, that shows a total lack of control and respect,” he added.
Sports columnist Quinito Henson revealed in an Instagram post that Pangilinan met the Gilas boys in the dugout shortly after the brawl:
SBP chairman emeritus/FIBA Central Board member MVP and POC president Ricky Vargas in Gilas dugout after the Australia game with RR Pogoy, Baser Amer and JuneMar Fajardo (top left) … the ultimate prize is the FIBA World Cup trophy (top middle) … Gilas head coach Chot Reyes … (below left) Aussie fans with plastic kangaroo wearing boxing gloves … (below middle) Andray Blatche has committed to play for Gilas at the coming Asian Games in Indonesia … (below right) Gabe Norwood watches Chris Goulding with Jayson Castro at back … let’s hope this will never happen again and here’s wishing Australia and the Philippines the best of luck in the next qualifying round … let’s also hope this incident will make us realize the importance of respect, fair play and sportsmanship @fiba @samahangbasketbolngpilipinas @pbaconnect #fibaasiawcqualifiers