Australian basketball great Andrew Gaze has lauded Matthew Dellavedova for his role in stopping a shocking brawl during a FIBA World Cup qualifying game from escalating further.
Dellavedova’s return to international duties was marred by a wild brawl that erupted between Australian and Philippines players on Monday night.
The Boomers were comfortably leading the Gilas Pilipinas 79-48 in the final game of the preliminary round of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers when a melee erupted in the third quarter.
Sparked by Australian Daniel Kickert elbowing Gilas’ Roger Ray Pogoy after he fouled Chris Goulding, the brawl spilled off the court into a seating area behind the baseline with officials and spectators becoming involved.
Chairs were thrown and Goulding was held to the ground and punched and kicked in the distressing incident, that has since garnered headlines across the world.
Dellavedova took no part in the wild scenes as he sat on the bench at the time of the incident. Match footage shows Dellavedova stopping his Boomers teammates from joining the fracas while security and officials also protected the Australian bench.
The entire Philippines bench was cleared as players, officials and managers joined the brawl.
Speaking to Triple J’s Hack program on Tuesday night, former Boomers captain Gaze said it was a “disgrace” the Philippines bench got involved in the altercation and said the actions of Dellavedova may have spared Australia from sanctions which could have impacted the Boomers’ qualification for the World Cup.
“I think there needs to be some pretty significant sanctions (for the Philippines). My best guess is that certainly some players will be facing some sanctions and that the Philippines will be asked to forfeit their next couple of qualifying games, which will make their challenge of making the world cup very, very difficult,” Gaze said.
“I think for the Australian team, any sanctions laid on the team will be more focused on the individuals as they did show great restraint.
“Full credit goes to Matthew Dellavedova for the way in which he was able to stop the bench players from stepping onto the field of play. If that happened, they (Boomers) too would’ve faced more severe penalties.”
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