Manila: The Philippines have withdrawn from the basketball tournament at the Asian Games with their governing body saying they needed to focus on their appeal against punishment levied on the team for an on-court brawl during a World Cup qualifier this month.
Thirteen players from the Australia and Philippines teams, as well as two Filipino coaches, were suspended for their role in the fight during the game in Bulacan on July 2, which was abandoned when the hosts had only one player left on court.
The International Basketball Federation (Fiba) also fined the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), which runs basketball in the country, 250,000 Swiss francs (Dh924,764).
The SBP said in a statement that the national team and governing body needed time to “regroup” and prepare for the process of appealing the Fiba decision.
“We have reached the conclusion that, with the forgoing considered and after consulting with the basketball community, the time and chance to participate in the 2018 Asian Games would not be optimal,” it continued.
“We apologise to the Asian Games organisers, to the fans of the Philippine team, and to the Asian basketball community for this withdrawal.”
The Philippines, Asian Games bronze medallists in 1998, had been seeded seventh for the 15-team tournament and were drawn in Group B along with Iran, Syria and the United Arab Emirates.
The basketball competition at the Asian Games takes place from August 19 to September 1 in Jakarta.