‘Deadset insane’: Inside Boomers evacuation
IT'S approaching 90 minutes after officials prematurely ended Australia's World Cup qualifier against the Philippines following an ugly all-in brawl and the Boomers are still confined to the away dressing shed.
In one corner sits guard Chris Goulding nursing a bruised eye and numerous scratches after being pinned down and bashed by multiple Philippines players and staff.
Opposite Goulding, fellow guard Nathan Sobey is coping with concussion symptoms after a Philippines fan blindsided him with a chair.
Sobey also copped a punch to the head, so he is in no mood to smile let alone talk.
Amid the fear and frustration, players frantically contacted their family and friends to let them know they are fine.
These calls to loved ones prompted strong emotions from our bruised and battered Boomers, who were slowly coming to terms with their involvement in one of world sport's worst brawls.
The players also felt grateful not to be seriously hurt, as chairs, forearms flowed freely in an ugly brawl.
The Australian players are unable to speak on the record due to FIBA's investigation, but one Boomer told the Telegraph the brawl sparked genuine distress within the ranks.
"It was deadset insane," he said.
"We couldn't believe what was going on. It was chaos."
The player, who wished to remain anonymous, said the tension between the two teams started in the warm-up.
He confirmed a Filipino player tripped Daniel Kickert, prompting him to push back.
Both teams then had to be separated.
Kickert has copped criticism for sparking the all-in brawl during Monday's World Cup qualifier against the Philippines with a stray elbow, but the tension between the two sides started before tip-off.
"They were standing in our half trying to cause trouble," he said.
"Kicks (Kickert) asked them to move during lay-ups and they didn't.
"Then when he came back around he kind of ushered them with, yes, a little like move push.
"And then the next time he ran back they tried to trip him and everyone came together."
Australian players were also accused of racial abuse by Philippine fans.
This included "monkey" taunts, but the unnamed player strongly denied these claims.
"Nope false," the player said.
"Nobody said anything like that from our group. That's all complete lies."
After almost two hours, the Boomers players finally left the arena in Manilla for the sanctuary of their hotel.
Only problem, the drama didn't stop there.
Boomers management decided to switch hotels to avoid backlash from fans.
"The Australian embassy played a major role," the unnamed player said.
"They were great."
By the time the players moved to a new hotel, it was almost midnight in Manilla.
After one of the most intense nights in their careers, the players were mentally crushed.
With nothing left to give, the Boomers players and staff ordered room service together and talked about a basketball game they'll never forget.
As the group nodded off, they were left with one message from coach Andrej Lemanis.
"I'm proud of the way we looked out for each other," Lemanis declared.
"We did the right thing not clearing the benches and trying to be classy about it all."
Sadly, the Boomers played their part in an embarrassing day for international basketball.
Lessons that will no doubt linger for some time to come.