Australia assistant coach and former NBA star Luc Longley has accused Philippines coach Chot Reyes of inciting the violence that marred a World Cup qualifying match between the teams on Monday.
The former Chicago Bulls player described the bench-clearing brawl which saw 13 players http://www.ramsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-joseph-noteboom-jersey , including four Australians, ejected from the match as the worst thing he had seen on a basketball court.
Longley, who has been praised for his efforts to protect Australian player Chris Goulding from a large group of Philippines players, said Reyes had called on his players during a time out to ”hit somebody, put somebody on their …”
Reyes has defended the comments, which were picked up by television microphones, as a routine instruction to his players to foul on fast breaks.
Speaking to media on Wednesday, Longley rejected Reyes’ comments and criticized the Philippines players for posing for a group selfie after the brawl had abated. Basketball Australia has sought to limit further comment on the brawl which is being investigated by world governing body FIBA.
But Longley was eager to speak, condemning what he called the ”gangster” behavior of some Philippines players.
”I do believe their coach Chot Reyes incited them to come out and thug us,” Longley said. ”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.
”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.”
Longley said he felt he had no choice but to come off the bench to defend Goulding when he saw the Australian pinned under a pile of Philippines players.
”Those are the sorts of images you hope you never see http://www.giantsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-patrick-omameh-jersey , one guy lying on the ground covering up his head and being kicked and beaten by the other team, players and officials and guys from the crowd,” he said. ”It was horrifying. I wasn’t supposed to come off the bench. It was really disturbing.
”I went onto the court to protect our guys, with the idea of not hurting anyone, just putting my big body in the way.”
Basketball Australia was expected to make Goulding available to speak to reporters Wednesday but withdrew him, saying he would speak ”at a better time.”
Australian veteran Daniel Kickert who was seen to elbow a Philippines player in response to a foul on Goulding before the brawl erupted, described the violence as ”regrettable.”
”I was put in a position where I made an action that was unfortunate,” he said. ”I think I overstepped a little bit in my response to the escalation in the game.
”I’m going to let FIBA do everything they need to do and come to the answers they see fit.”
Australia coach Andrej Lemanis said he feared the brawl would make it more difficult to call on Australian NBA players for international duty.
NBA teams are often reluctant to release players as it is for the two FIBA windows, in June-July and September, that fall in the league’s off-season.
Two current NBA players, Milwaukee Bucks pair Thon Maker and Matthew Dellavadova Arden Key Color Rush Jersey , were on Australia’s roster for the match. Maker is facing a possible FIBA suspension after he attempted numerous fly-kicks on Filipino opponents.
”Obviously that’s one of the concerns … what it means generally in terms of players willingness to participate and put their hand up,” Lemanis said.
”We’ll see. Hopefully there’s good learnings out of this for everybody in terms of the safety and security required around the game.”
Jeff Van Gundy warned the Americans that they were in for a serious challenge.
To his chagrin, he was right, and the U.S. was handed a rare loss.
Francisco Cruz scored 24 points, Mexico opened with an 18-0 run and went on to beat the United States 78-70 on Thursday night in a qualifying game for next year’s FIBA World Cup.
According to USA Basketball, it was just the second loss by the U.S. in 30 games against Mexico – with the other defeat coming in the 2011 Pan Am Games.
Orlando Mendez-Valdez added 20 points for Mexico, which held the U.S. scoreless for the first 5:51 and forced the Americans into missing their first 10 shots from the floor.
”Mexico dominated us from the start and that’s on me,” Van Gundy said. ”We were not ready to compete at the level Mexico did. Give them all the credit, they played a great, great game.”
Marcus Thornton scored 14 points for the U.S., which is using a roster composed primarily of G League players for the qualifying rounds. Xavier Munford added 11 points while David Stockton and Reggie Hearn each had 10 for the Americans.
The U.S. lost for the first time in 10 contests under Van Gundy http://www.dolphinsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-mike-gesicki-jersey , who is coaching this team that’s tasked with getting the team of NBA stars that will be coached by Gregg Popovich to the World Cup.
”We can’t underestimate how hard it is going to be to play on the road, at altitude, and against a team desperate to qualify for the FIBA World Cup,” Van Gundy said leading up to the game. ”We have to make sure we match that type of intensity and passion that we know they’ll bring.”
By the time the U.S. found its stride, it was already in deep trouble. Mexico led 31-10 after the first quarter, then staved off a big second-half rally try by the U.S.
Trey McKinney-Jones‘ basket late in the third quarter capped a 15-1 run and put the U.S. within 53-51. Thornton made a pair of 3-pointers about a minute apart in that burst, and Hearn’s 3-pointer early in the fourth cut Mexico’s lead to 56-54.
But the U.S. never got the lead.
”In the second half we competed at a high level and that high level got us back in the game, but we just couldn’t get over the hump,” Van Gundy said.
The Americans (4-1) – who have already ensured themselves a spot in the second round of qualifying that starts in September – end the first-round series of games Sunday when they go to Havana to face Cuba (0-5). It’ll be the first time a U.S. men’s national team has played in Havana since the 1991 Pan American Games. Mexico (3-2) also wraps up its first round on Sunday, when it plays at Puerto Rico (3-2).
David Huertas had 18 points, Angel Rodriguez and JJ Barea each had 15 and Puerto Rico rallied in the fourth quarter in another qualifying game Thursday to top Cuba 84-80.
Under FIBA’s new qualifying format Kyzir White Color Rush Jersey , teams are playing home-and-home games against teams in their region to earn places in the World Cup in China, which begins on Aug. 31, 2019. That tournament will qualify seven teams for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
This was the first time the U.S. played a true road game during this tournament. The Americans opened qualifying in November with an 85-78 win in what was a ”home” game for Puerto Rico – but the contest was actually played in Orlando, Florida because of continued problems in San Juan following Hurricane Maria.
And this was very much a real road atmosphere.
Not only was the game played at Mexico City’s 7,500-foot altitude, but in a filled 5,000-seat arena that Mexican officials said sold out in only 45 minutes.
The tone was set by the U.S. turning the ball over on each of its first three possessions, and Mexico was off and running.
The U.S. routed Mexico back in November, winning by 36 points.
That was a very different Mexico team.
Only four players from the Mexican roster then were in uniform on Thursday night, with the team now able to add those who were playing in their various professional leagues and unable to take part when the qualifying rounds began. Cruz and Mendez-Valdez each had 13 points by halftime, and Gustavo Ayon was a big factor even without big numbers – four points http://www.lionsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-da_shawn-hand-jersey , four rebounds and five assists by the break.
If their names are familiar to U.S. basketball aficionados, it’s for good reason.
Ayon appeared in 135 NBA games in parts of three seasons with four different franchises, and just helped Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid win the EuroLeague. Mendez-Valdez was part of the Western Kentucky team that went to the Sweet Sixteen in 2008, and he won the Sun Belt’s player of the year award in the following season. Cruz played at Wyoming and has played in pro leagues in Mexico, Latvia, Argentina and Spain.