NBA star Thon Maker has taken full responsibility for his actions in the all-in brawl during Australia's World Cup qualifier in the Philippines, but says he was only trying to protect his teammates.
The Milwaukee Bucks centre, who was playing only his second match for the Boomers, was ejected from the match after entering the fray with a series of fly-kicks during the third-quarter fight.
Numerous Philippines officials and even fans joined in, with Maker hopeful the carnage would lead to a renewed focus on player security.
"I am deeply disappointed in the actions displayed during yesterday's game against the Philippines," Maker said in a statement posted on Twitter.
"Being from a war-torn country, basketball for me has always been a means to bring people together.”
"I feel a great responsibility as an NBA player to carry myself in a way that promotes peace and unity.
"My hope is that this experience provides a springboard for discussion regarding the security surrounding these games.
"I take responsibility for my actions knowing that they were a result of MY DESIRE to protect my teammates and myself.
"It is a tremendous honour to represent Australia, the Milwaukee Bucks and the NBA and my goal is to reflect that in my conduct and play."
Maker, 21, did not appear to inflict any actual damage with his fly kicks and seemed more interested in keeping Filipino players away from his fellow Boomers.
Australian Associated Press