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Mitra: FIBA should discipline the referees

The referees struggled in restraining the Gilas and Australia players during the brawl. Nikki Collantes (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--If GAB chairman Baham Mitra is to be asked, FIBA should also look at the referees who officiated the brawl-marred Gilas-Australia game at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue.

"Before they sanction our Filipino players, they should first discipline the referees," the former Palawan governor told Dugout Philippines in a chance interview.

On why he thought the officials should be blamed too, he replied, "The game got out of hand because the referees did not control it.... Kung yung referees maayos, it's not gonna happen that way."

He then lamented, "Why blame the Filipino players, the Filipino crowd, and the Filipino people?"

Meanwhile, in a statement that he sent to Dugout Philippines, he clarified that the coaching staff should have controlled the situation as well.

"We also want to remind our coaches and assistant coaches to restrain our players," he stated.

GAB regulates and supervises the professional sports leagues in the Philippines, especially the PBA, where the Gilas plaers are playing club-wise.

FIBA is set to hand its verdict on the brawl at 3 p.m. Thursday, and the SBP will make a reaction on the said verdict through a press conference at 4 p.m.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno