SBP calls on FIBA to look into Philippine Arena incident

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas through its Legal Counsel, Atty. Aga Francisco, conveyed to Fiba during the technical meeting for the Philippines-Australia match on July 1, a very diplomatic but strong message about the UNIRATERAL AND UNCALLED FOR tampering of the stickers on the hardcourt of the Philippine Arena by the Australian team.

During the closed door practice of the Australian National Team from 2:30 to 4:30pm, members of the Australian team forcibly removed the stickers of the game sponsors from the hardcourt of the Philippine Arena WITHOUT FIRST CONFERRING WITH FIBA OR SBP LOC. As it was a closed door practice, no member of Fiba or the Local Organizing Committee was present to prevent the removal of the stickers which permanently damaged the floor of the court.

According to the Australian team, they were concerned about the safety of their players citing a slippery surface.

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 stickering was approved by Fiba’s branding manager who was present for the placement of the stickers.

Atty. Francisco added that this is no mere small incident but could be “international in nature” as the owners and operators of the Philippine Arena could possibly file a criminal action of malicious damage to property through pre-meditation and in conspiracy with each other.

The Australians through their representatives to the Technical Meeting admitted fault and deeply apologized for the incident. However, Atty. Francisco urged Fiba to act decisively on the incident for fear of “turning this into an UNSAVORY international incident. Fiba should take action in order that the owners will be appeased so they will not file action.”

SBP is awaiting FIBA’s response to the matter.