Australia drops the boom on Gilas Pilipinas to take solo Group B lead in Asian Qualifers
Paul Lintag on Feb 22, 2018 06:23 PM
The Boomers trip Gilas Pilipinas in Melbourne to take over solo first place in Group B. (FIBA)
Australia was just too much for Gilas Pilipinas.
The Philippines gave the reigning Asian Champions a worthy challenge Thursday but the Boomers defended their home floor, taking an 84-68 win in the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers at the Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne.
It was the third straight win for Australia in the first round of the Asian Qualifers and the Boomers (3-0) are now in solo first place in Group B, ahead of Gilas (2-1).
The Boomers broke the game wide open in the middle of the second half with impeccable outside shooting and some luck on foul calls.
Up by only six, 54-48, Australia unloaded a 16-1 run that bridged the third and fourth quarters for its largest lead of the night at 21 points, 70-49.
The Philippines never truly got close after that burst from the Boomers.
"I felt like we had a very good start, put ourselves in a position to get a win. But they came out with their veteran play [and] we made some rookie mistakes," naturalized center Andray Blatche said.
"Like Andray said, I thought we had a good start. We can't complain on [our] effort. Our game could've been better but our effort is there. We thought at least we've accounted well for ourselves to compete against this Boomers squad," head coach Chot Reyes added.
Despite the late collapse, Gilas Pilipinas actually played the Boomers tough in the first half.
After a giving up the game's first five points, the Philippines took it the Australians with a stout defensive stand that was similar to the China game back in the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup.
Gilas forced the Australians to shoot in the low 30s for the first 20 minutes of the game.
The offense was also running relatively smoothl and the national team even took a 30-25 lead in the second quarter after Kiefer Ravena connected on a pick-and-roll play with June Mar Fajardo.
However, the Boomers would charge back, unloading a late 12-2 run to regain control at the half.
Richard Gliddon led the hosts in scoring, firing 16 points. His three triples in the third period were crucial as Australia started to pull away from the Philippines.
John Brandt added 13 while Mithcell Creek and Kevin Lisch were good for 12 points apiece.
Meanwhile, Fajardo was the only Filipino to finish in double figures, dropping 15 points in a starting role.
Matthew Wright adde nine for Gilas Pilipinas and Andray Blatche struggled for eight points and seven rebounds.
The Gilas defense actually held Australia to only 41.3 percent shooting from the field however, terrible free throw shooting doomed the national team.
Gilas only shot 36.8 percent at the line, missing 12 of 19 attempts.
The Philippines will return to action Sunday, hosting Japan at the MOA Arena.
Australia Boomers (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.
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