What was supposed to be a peaceful game turned into a commotion after two opposing teams for the 2019 Belau Games Basketball competition clashed during their match on June 12.
The Basketball Technical Committee for the Belau Games, through a memorandum issued to all coaches on June 13, said it is placing Sonsorol and Ngiwal basketball teams under probation for the remaining of the basketball tournament following the scuffle.
The game between the teams was immediately halted after it turned into a fight in a highly competitive game during the third quarter with Sonsorol taking the lead score at 54-35. The game was then ruled a default based on the rules.
Three players identified as Joey Sumor of Sonsorol team, later identified to be a police officer, and Obak Mad and JT Timarong of Ngiwal team, who were also later found to be sons of police officers, were ordered suspended for the next two games of their respective teams. This means that Sumor will not be allowed to play until after June 19 game while Mad and Timarong will also not be allowed to play until after June 17 game.
The committee also prohibits the suspended players from entering the gym during the games of their respective teams.
“If any of the players commit any other incident, provoke a situation that may lead to an incident, or if any altercation occurs outside of the gymnasium that is deemed as a result of the fighting incident, the players will be immediately banned from the rest of the basketball competition of the 2019 Belau Games,” the memorandum read.
Aside from the players, some spectators supporting the teams who were identified as Dean Terry, Lee Pedro, and Centennial Sapemang of Sonsorol state and Youlsau Timarong of Ngiwal state were also banned from entering the gym throughout the suspension period of the named players. The committee also said that any altercation caused by one of the spectators which will be found to be related to the fight will be grounds for further banning them for the rest of the 2019 Belau Games basketball competition.
The committee also reminded all coaches to teach their players about sportsmanship.
“This year, we have a good basketball competition with many talented young players. In the spirit of the games, through excellence, friendship and respect, coaches are reminded to educate your players to compete to the best of their ability with good sportsmanship,” the committee expressed.
Meanwhile, Public Safety Director Aloysius Alonz, in a phone interview, said that no injuries were reported as a result of the commotion.
Jubilee Kuartei of the Palau National Olympic Committee (PNOC), who is part of the Belau Games management for basketball tournament, said in an interview that they had met with the players, families, coaches, and state representatives of both teams yesterday, June 13, where both parties had expressed apologies to each other.
Kuartei said that since the key players involved in the scuffle actually know each other, they immediately apologized to each other as soon as they met at the meeting.
Kuartei said that no animosity was noted between the parties during the meeting and in fact they were all smiling after apologies were conveyed.
The teams, in a video, conveyed their message for all the players for the Belau Games by saying, ““one love, one heart, love the game.”
“They (the teams) were really disappointed about what happened because they’ve actually just made the game ugly and this has never happened in Palau basketball ever so they themselves feel bad that they caused this to happened,” Kuartei said.
“This is a true testament of the development of basketball game today because even though that happened, there’s rule that what happens in the court, stays in the court,” Kuartei added.
Kuartei said that the teams want to go back to the games and show that they do not have animosity toward each other. (By Rhealyn C. Pojas)