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Pangilinan furious over Australia’s transgression

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) called on world governing body FIBA to take action on the incident that saw members of Australia’s national team’s rip advertising stickers placed on the court of the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

The incident took place during Australia’s practice held on the eve of last night’s FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers game against Gilas Pilipinas, drawing the ire of SBP officials led by chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan.

Australian officials later apologized during Sunday evening’s technical meeting, claiming that the players were concerned of the stickers’ slippery conditions. The SBP, however, is letting the visiting team get off the hook.

“(SBP legal counsel Aga) Francisco urged FIBA to act decisively on the incident for fear of turning this into an unsavory international incident,” the SBP said in a lengthy statement released late Sunday.

Four men were shown on video later posted by Pangilinan on his Twitter account peeling off the ads, causing white marks to appear on the hardcourt.

“Aussie team ripping our FIBA logos on the court of Phl Arena w/o asking permission. We will not back down. Those stickers go in. Regardless,” Pangilinan tweeted.

FIBA later ruled in the same meeting that the stickers were able to meet FIBA standards and were expected to be placed back in time for the match.

“The Local Organizing Committee through SBP Deputy Executive Director Bernie Atienza acknowledged the right of the visiting team to complain but didn’t have the right to remove anything as all the stickering of the floor has been approved by FIBA,” the statement also said.

It would be interesting to see how the home fans will react the moment the Aussies enter the court for the first first round match of both teams. The two nations entered the contest tied for the lead in Group B with identical 4-1 slates.

NBA players Matthew Dellavedova and Thon Maker of the Milwaukee Bucks were expected to lead the Boomers’ quest to bounce back from a shock 79-78 loss to Japan in Chiba last Friday.

Gilas was coming off a 93-71 rout of Taiwan also Friday at the Taipei Heping Basketball Gym.

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