SBP chair Angara: "I stand by the Gilas team"

Despite saying that Gilas should be sanctioned for the brawl, Senator Sonny Angara reiterates that he has the national team's backs. Nikki Collantes (file photo)

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Senator Sonny Angara expressed his full support on Gilas Pilipinas following the brawl that took place in its match against Australia at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue on Monday night.

[Related Story: Australia, Gilas engage in free-for-all in crucial WCQ match]

"It was an unfortunate event but I stand by the Gilas team on this," Angara, the current SBP chairman, said in a statement on Tuesday.

He then added, "One may criticize how the game ended, but the true test of a fan is to stick with his team win or lose, through thick and thin."

He, however, clarified, "Sanctions must be meted out, apologies extended as true sportsmen would, non-players who joined the melee should be punished, and above all, lessons learned so that this should not happen again."

He also said that the free-for-all should not be treated as a proof that the Filipinos are rude to their visitors.

"We would like to reassure the world that it's an isolated event and Filipinos remain the most hospitable race, in and out of the court, as millions of visitors who visit us annually would attest," Angara continued.

He then called to the Filipinos, "Let us move on from this incident and focus on the national project of hosting the best FIBA World Cup ever, in 2023."

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