Australia topples Gilas Pilipinas in FIBA WC Asian Qualifiers
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Gilas Pilipinas couldn't sustain its hot start and the Australia Boomers cruised to an 84-68 win in their opening game of the second window of the FIBA Asian Qualifiers for the 2019 World Cup at the Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne.
Gilas now holds a 2-1 record in Group B while Australia became the only undefeated team behind a 3-0 card.
The Philippines held a 30-25 lead midway the second period but the Boomers regained their bearings, dropping a 12-2 bomb, sparked by back-to-back hits from Nick Kay, for a 37-32 advantage heading into the break.
Australia found its groove in the 3rd quarter, pushing its lead to 9 points, 50-41, off back-to-back Cameron Gliddon treys, before completely breaking the game wide open off an 8-0 run, 62-48.
The Boomers saw their lead balloon to 18 points, 77-59, after a 3-point play from Kay in the payoff period.
"All we wanted to do is to compete. And I felt we were able to do that, we competed, we competed hard. But it’s hard coming to the ball game when you’re also thinking of the next game," said Gilas head coach Chot Reyes of their upcoming battle against Japan.
"Our game could’ve been better but our effort was there. We thought at least we’ve accounted well for ourselves to compete against this Boomers squad."
Gliddon paced the Boomers with 16 points while Mitch Creek chipped in 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Angus Brandt and Kevin Lisch added 13 and 12 markers, respectively, for Australia.
Although Gilas shot a respectable 43.8 percent from the field, it was an atrocious shooting night for them at line as they missed 12 of the 19 free throws.
Australia's size advantage against Gilas was evident throughout with the Boomers hauling down 50 boards to the Philippines' 30.
June Mar Fajardo was the lone Gilas player in double figures with 15 points. Naturalized big man Andray Blatche was limited to 8 points and 7 rebounds despite playing 25 minutes.
Gilas will return home to face Japan on February 25 at the Mall of Asia Arena. They have a chance of redeeming themselves against the Boomers when Gilas hosts Australia on July 2 at the Philippine Arena.
Australia (84): Gliddon 16, Brandt 13, Creek 12, Lisch 12, Kay 7, Hodgson 6, Kickert 5, Norton 4, Wagstaff 4, Cadee 2, Sobey 2, McCarron 1
Gilas Pilipinas (68): Fajardo 15, Wright 9, Blatche 8, Pogoy 8, Norwood 7, Ravena 6, Alas 6, Abueva 5, Aguilar 2, Tratter 2, Cruz 0, Malicsi 0
Quarters: 19-19, 37-32, 63-49, 84-68