Australia’s Boomer have maintained their unbeaten record and stormed to the top of Group B in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Asian Qualifiers after a convincing 84-68 victory over Gilas Pilipinas in Melbourne on the 22 Feb 2018.
After a tight tussle for two-and-a-half quarters, the Boomers broke the game open with a match-winning 26-1 spurt overlapping the third and fourth quarters. Cameron Gliddon led the Boomers with 16 points, while Mitchell Creek had 12 points and 11 rebounds. June Fajardo scored 15 points for Gilas, who lost their first match of the Asian Qualifiers.
The final lopsided score line looked unlikely early after Gilas matched their favored opponents. It was an even opening Gilas starting strong in front of a large contingent of Filipino supporters, around 6000+ patrons of which 90% were Filipinos, present at the Margaret Court Arena. Scores were deadlocked after the first quarter with the smaller Gilas squad holding their own on the boards.
A major upset looked on the cards when Gilas led 26-21 midway through the second quarter aided by a cold shooting Boomers from the floor. Sensing they were in a hole, the Boomers turned up the volume on defense and went on a 16-6 run heading into half-time to lead 37-32 at the long break.
Gilas hung in for much of the third quarter before the Boomers finally broke the game open with a devastating burst against the tiring visitors.
* * *
One juicy matchup should have been Jayson Castro against Jason Cadee, but the former has been excluded from the final roster by Philippines head coach Chot Reyes due to a lingering ankle injury. The man who will be tasked to go head-to-head against Cadee, therefore, will be fast rising star Kiefer Ravena, the second overall pick in last year’s PBA Draft. Ravena has been the most impressive rookie in the PBA’s current season, and Filipino fans have high hopes he will deliver the goods in Melbourne.
Boomers were well organised with their playbook, rotating and screening team mates. Also had several 3 points made and cuts inside the painted area with no defense from Gilas. Boomers hudled often in between scores which improves their court communication, while Gilas does seems to care if they coach each other while on the court.
Gilas made a couple of errors for not being able to get the ball from the outside lane within 5 seconds. They also made minimal 3 points shots, non-existent cuts towards the basket, and seems to be not executing the proper plays if any. Free throw problems also hunted Gilas.
Referees calls were dubious which did not go well with the Filipino crowd, especially when the referee called a travelling violation, Coach Chot Reyes was vehemently contesting the call that the referee decided to give him a technical foul. At one point, the Boomers were granted 3 consecutive 2 free throws.
Featured image: Ronnie Quinonez