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In wake of basketball brawl, coach Triano preaches cool heads to Canadians

Australia’s Thon Maker slam-dunks against the Philippines during their FIBA World Cup Asian qualifier game in Manila on July 2, 2018.

TED ALJIBE/Getty Images

Jay Triano dodged a few fists and flying chairs in his day.

But Canada’s men’s basketball coach said Monday’s wild basketball brawl between Australia and the Philippines was a great opportunity to preach cool heads to his players.

“We’re going to wait to see what the sanctions are, but we tell our players to stay locked in,” Triano said after Canada’s 99-69 victory over the U.S. Virgin Island in World Cup qualifying Monday.

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“You can’t get kicked out of a game. If you happen to miss the next game because of suspension, that’s a big thing. We’re playing in a world championship or Olympics, it’s an automatic suspension the next game and that could be the game that decides what you do.”

Basketball’s international governing body has opened disciplinary hearings against Australia and the Philippines after the brawl, which included Milwaukee Bucks forward Thon Maker, in a World Cup qualifying game in Manila.

Video showed Maker, who played high school basketball in Orangeville, Ont., flying into the melee feet-first.

“Got a little testy, huh?” said Canadian guard Cory Joseph. “They both were playing hard, got a little chippy, and stuff happens. Couple punches thrown, obviously you never want it to get to that but you know, it’s the game.”

Fights were more commonplace when Triano was a player, before FIBA instituted hefty suspensions and fines.

“In Montreal, Canada versus Brazil was just about as bad (as Monday’s),” Triano said of a game he played ahead of the 1984 Olympics.

Monday’s fight spilled into the area behind the baseline and video showed a chair being thrown at the back of an Australia player either by a fan or member of the Philippines team staff. Former NBA player Andray Blatche, now playing for the Philippines, appeared to throw multiple punches.

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A total of 13 players were ejected after the melee that began in the third quarter of Australia’s 89-53 victory following a collision in the lane. The game continued with just three players from the Philippines.

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