Gilas Pilipinas reserves Jio Jalalon and Allein Maliksi as well as assistant coach Jong Uichico were caught on camera throwing punches during the height of the now infamous brawl between the Philippine national basketball team and its counterpart from Australia, Monday night at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue Bulacan.
Jalalon, Maliksi and Uichico charged off the team’s bench to participate in the melee which has received contrasting point of views from people of this basketball-loving nation.
While the above-mentioned trio came from the bench to join the one-sided ‘rumble’, June Mar Fajardo kept his poise and composure and managed to stay on the court without hurting anybody.
The 6-foot-10 slotman was actually part of the five on the floor when the free-for-all began. But instead of coming to his teammate’s rescue, which was the prevailing sentiment of majority of the team members, Fajardo casually walked around the court and restrained himself from taking part in the commotion.
“Mahirap din kasi kung papatol ka sa init ng sitwasyon, mas lalala lang yung sitwasyon. Tapos worst pa nun baka ano pa ang mangyari sayo diba?” said Fajardo shortly after SMB’s win over Blackwater Wednesday night at the MOA Arena.
“Kung pupwedeng iwasan, iwas lang, diba? Hindi lahat ng sitwasyon yung pagiging matapang, nakikipagsuntukan. Hindi mo masusukat dun yung tapang, minsan yung tapang mababase mo sa taas ng pasensiya. Kung pwede kang magpasensiya, magpasensiya ka,” added the 4-time PBA Most Valuable Player.
Fajardo was one of only three Gilas players who were not ejected from the game, the others being Gabe Norwood and Baser Amer, both of whom were on the bench when the incident occurred.
The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) is currently in the process of investigating the unfortunate incident and is expected to release a final ruling by the end of the month.