FIBA: Time heals all wounds as Gilas takes on Australia’s 36ers

Paul Lintag on Aug 19, 2019 11:14 AM
FIBA: Time heals wounds as Gilas takes on Australia’s 36ers
As part of their final preparations for the 2019 FIBA World Cup, Gilas Pilipinas is set to play the NBL’s Adelaide 36ers in a pair of friendlies. (Photo by Richard Esguerra)

July 2, 2018 might as well be the darkest in the history of Gilas Pilipinas.

On that fateful Monday night in Bulacan, the Philippine national team engaged five members of the Australian national team in a vicious brawl seen around the world.

It was ugly and it was unfortunate.

In the immediate aftermath of the brawl, nine Gilas players were ejected, leaving only three to continue playing. Two fouled out and the Philippines lost by forfeiture.

A few weeks later, the FIBA dropped the hammer on the Philippine national team, suspending 10 Gilas players.

But time heals all wounds and over a year since the Gilas-Boomers brawl, the Philippines and Australia are ready to play basketball again.

As part of their final preparations for the 2019 FIBA World Cup, Gilas Pilipinas is set to play the NBL’s Adelaide 36ers in a pair of friendlies.

It’s the first basketball interaction between the two countries since July 2, 2018.

“At the end of the day, we're all men,” forward Gabe Norwood started as he talked about facing the Australians again.

Norwood was one of the three players for Gilas not ejected during the brawl. He wasn’t suspended either.

“We have to look at ourselves in the mirror. Whether we're out there or not, new to the team or not, we have a country to carry and present ourselves to the entire world. This is a great opportunity for both countries to come together, compete at a high level, put everything they can on the court and show respect at the same time,” Norwood added.

The 36ers are naturally not the same Boomers team Gilas played before but the thought counts.

Regardless, Adelaide should give Gilas a great challenge. The 36ers are four-time NBL champions and were a top-5 team in Australia the previous season.

“I don't know much about the club that's coming in in terms of who they'll have, who's with the national team, if they'll be at full strength as well,” Norwood said.

“But at the end of the day we just gotta find a way to get two wins and get better in getting ready for China,” he added.

The Gilas-36ers tuneup games will be on August 23 and 25 and will be played behind closed doors.

 


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