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Any sports fan knows that tensions can run very high during games, whether they're high-stakes, regular season, or even scrimmages. Unfortunately, those tensions boiled over in a big way in a recent FIBA World Cup -- no, not that World Cup -- qualifier game between Australia and Philippines. In the third quarter of a FIBO World Cup qualifier match, a clash quickly turned into a battle that had both teams emptying their benches to throw punches. It was an astonishing display of violence in a sport that can usually stop real aggression from getting too ugly by calling fouls. The fight resulted in more than a dozen players getting ejected and an ultimate forfeit. See for yourself the brawl that went down:
Ouch! Now, for those of us who are used to watching American basketball, the thrown elbow that started the brawl was already a lot more than should have happened. Of course, NBA referees have been known to miss certain calls, and even blatant fouls don't always result in players facing repercussions. Still, it's not exactly the norm for NBA players to start throwing punches and piling onto each other after a thrown elbow. FIBA seems to be something else entirely. The commentating for the game began to sound more like a wrestling match than a basketball matchup. Just imagine how these guys would react to some basketball-themed Mean Tweets!
Unsurprisingly, the two teams didn't get off scot-free once the fists stopped flying. No fewer than 13 players on the Australian and Filipino teams were ejected after the violence finally died down, but remarkably, that was not the end of the game. After losing nine players to ejections, the Philippines only had three players still eligible for play. Under FIBA rules, a team can continue to play as long as at least three players are still eligible, so Philippines could have hung on and let the rest of the game happen... if not for the Filipino players continuing to foul.
Before the end of the third quarter, two of the remaining three Philippines players had also fouled out. The Philippines had no choice but to forfeit, and ESPN 5 reports that the game ended with Australia winning 89-53. The entire situation was strange, not least because Australia already had a huge lead over Philippines when the brawl broke out. Australia was winning 79-48 with a little over four minutes left in the third quarter. It wasn't exactly a nail-biter before the Philippines had to forfeit.
My favorite thing about the whole fiasco has to be the fact that the final score was 89-53, which means that the three-man Filipino team managed to score at least twice more for those final five points before two of the three fouled out. It also means that the three-man Filipino team held the Australians to only ten points before they fouled out.
Nobody was seriously hurt, despite fans joining in by throwing debris and one of the players flinging a chair. Both Australia and Philippines will face "disciplinary proceedings" from FIBA, although no details are currently available about what the results of those proceedings will be. It should be interesting to see what kind of repercussions both teams will face after the brawl and if the rules for FIBA games change moving forward. For what you can watch while the situation unfolds, check out our summer TV premiere schedule.