MADRID (AP) — The EuroLeague issued suspensions of up to five games for four players involved in a brawl between Real Madrid and Partizan Belgrade that forced a playoff game to be called off.
A five-game ban was given to Guershon Yabusele on Friday, a day after the Madrid forward took a leading role in the melee on his home court. The former Boston Celtics player slammed Partizan player Dante Exum onto the floor.
Yabusele apologized on social media before the disciplinary measures were announced.
“I deeply regret my behavior at last night’s game. Basketball is about sportsmanship and friendship,” the French forward wrote on Instagram. “My sincere apologies to Partizan, a club with which we have always had a great relationship, to Dante Exum and his family, to my teammates, my club and all the fans.”
Partizan’s American player, Kevin Punter, was given a two-game ban. Gabriel Deck of Madrid and Matthias Lessort of Partizan were handed one-game bans.
The clubs were also fined 50,000 euros ($55,000) for “unsportsmanlike conduct by both teams preventing the normal conclusion of the game,” the EuroLeague said.
Madrid was losing 95-80 when a hard foul by Madrid guard Sergio Llull on Punter upset Partizan players and led to the benches clearing. Punches were thrown and a couple of players were tossed to the ground during the melee.
“What took place last night should never happen on a basketball court,” Llull said in a Twitter message posted on Friday. “I take responsibility for committing that tough foul that sparked the ensuing disaster. My apologies to all basketball fans.”
Officials spent several minutes watching replays before deciding to call off the game with 1 minute, 40 seconds left. Partizan was awarded the victory.
The third game of the best-of-five series is scheduled for Tuesday in Belgrade. Partizan leads 2-0 after it also won the first game in Madrid 89-87.
Partizan coach Zeljko Obradovic asked his team’s fans to treat Madrid well in Serbia.
“We have always had here impressive hospitality from everyone in Madrid,” Obradovic said. “Like I said, I have friends here and I have great respect for everyone. And when we go to Belgrade tomorrow, I’m going to talk about that. I’m going to try to calm everybody so that we receive Real Madrid like the people here have received us.”
The winner advances to the final four.
AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright © 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.