GOULDING: "I WANTED TO PROTECT MY HEAD & MAKE SURE THEY COULDN’T DO SERIOUS DAMAGE"
Australian basketballer Chris Goulding, who was at the centre of the terrifying brawl that took place in the World Cup qualifier in the Philippines, has explained what was going through his mind when he was jumped on by over 10 opposition players.
The Filipino bench ran onto the court when the fight started, with Goulding finding himself isolated and pinned down by a number of players.
The Melbourne United player explains what was going through his mind when he was trapped underneath the players punching and kicking him.
“(After the foul) I got up and saw what was happening with Daniel Kickert and wanted to break that apart, but when I stood up I was fly-kicked from a guy that ran in from the bench.”
“He kicked me down under the ring and that’s when I was set-upon.
“It wasn’t like I knew exactly what was happening, it happened from behind, I was on the ground and 10 to 15 people were on top of me with chairs and everything you can imagine.
“At that point in time, I wasn’t thinking I might lose my life, it was just literally protect the head and just wait it out.
“I won’t say they were hitting me with really painful shots or anything like that, it was just a blur, I just wanted to protect my head and make sure they couldn’t do any serious damage.
“Nathan Sobey saw me down there, he knew what was going on and he tried to come and help and he had a chair thrown at him and then he was coward punched, it’s just something you never think you’d experience.
“It felt like a hell of a lot longer than it did on the video watching it back. The full magnitude I didn’t really get until I watched back the video.”
Goulding believes the elbow from Kickert that started the brawl is something that should never have led to such an escalated response.
“The initial push and Kickert’s forearm, these are things you guys may not have seen a hell of a lot, but they’re really quite common in basketball, especially in international play," he said.
“That in isolation, there may be a one-match suspension or a fine, there’s a lot of push and shove, rarely do you have players running in, assistant coaches running in and picking up chairs and trying to seriously maim people."
“I’m very thankful to those that helped me.”
This is the first time the Boomers have been a part of the Asian qualifying group for the World Cup and Goulding said discussions needed to be had regarding travel and safety.
"Going forward, there's going to be serious conversations about the security and the welfare of players if we're going to continue to play these overseas qualifying games,” he said.
GOULDING: DISCIPLINE SHOWN BY THE BENCH WON US THE GAME
The brawl that broke out between the Australian Boomers and the Philippines' national basketball team has made headlines over the past few days, and much of the discussion has been around and who is at fault.
The Boomers led the game 79-48 with four minutes remaining in the third quarter, and a forgotten fact is that during the brawl, the Boomer’s bench stayed put and didn’t get involved in the fight.
If they had left the bench to play a role in the brawl, the Boomers would have been disqualified from the game, adding another loss to their World Cup qualification campaign.
The bench has received some criticism for participating in the brawl, but star player Chris Goulding has emphasised that the discipline that they showed, won them the game.
“There’s been a lot of backlash to the guys on the bench because they didn’t come off the court,” said Goulding on SEN Breakfast.
“In the end that discipline that we showed as a team is what won us the game.
“If we ran off the bench, everyone would have been disqualified and that’s another loss against us in our World Cup qualifying,” he added.
“Although it must have been hard for them as our mates to try and protect their teammates, they did the right thing, the discipline they showed was absolutely amazing.”
Milwaukee Bucks point guard and Aussie veteran Matthew Dellavedova was one of the players on the bench making sure the players stayed put.