AUSTRALIAN basketball legend Lauren Jackson has said she wouldn’t play again in the Philippines if she was one of the Australian Boomers involved in Monday night’s shocking brawl.
The three-time Olympic silver medallist said the third-quarter melee, which involved coaches and officials from the Philippines, was “a black mark on the sport of basketball.”
“Obviously there were a lot of cheap shots thrown during the game, by the third quarter there was a level of frustration on both sides,” Jackson said.
“Daniel Kickert would have been ejected from the game had the Philippines team not rushed the court.
“That’s why you stay on the bench, otherwise all hell breaks loose.
“What happened was incredible, I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Outside of Kickert, whose retaliatory elbow arguably instigated the brawl, Jackson supported the rest of the Boomers squad.
She said Milwaukee Bucks centre Thon Maker, who appeared to launch himself at Philippines players at one point, was trying to protect his teammates.
Maker, Kickert, Chris Goulding and Nathan Sobey were ejected from the game once order was restored, as well as nine Philippines players.
“Some of the players being beaten the way they were, that just can’t happen,” Jackson said.
“The more I watch the replay, the more I think the Australians handled themselves really well.
“Initially I thought Thon was going to be in trouble, but I think he's trying to protect his teammates.
“I didn't see our guys throw a punch, then you have five guys against all those other people.”
Jackson praised the Boomers bench for not rushing the court to retaliate.
Maker's Bucks teammate Matthew Dellavedova could be seen holding Boomers teammates back.
“As a former player, if I was in that game I wouldn't want to play again over there,” Jackson said.
“They have every right to be afraid – they were not protected at all.
“First and foremost, FIBA needs to protect their players.
“When something like this happens, with administrators and fans involved, they're going to have to rethink how some of these tournaments are structured.”
The Boomers won the game 89-53.
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