The Australian Boomers have moved clear on top of Group B in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers after defeating the Philippines 84-68 in front of 6,504 raucous Australian and especially Filipino fans.
Written by Luke Sicari.
Cam Gliddon came, saw and conquered.
An inspired third quarter from Gliddon led the way for the Boomers on Thursday night, as they inched closer to qualifying for the 2019 FIBA World Cup at the halfway point of the first round of qualifiers.
The Cairns Taipans captain went on a three-point shooting spree in the decisive third period, scoring nine points, as the Boomers secured a hard-fought victory over the Philippines.
“I just wanted to be aggressive and take the right shots within the system,” Gliddon said.
“I was happy they went down.”
Gliddon ended with a team-high 16 points, complemented by Angus Brandt (13), Mitch Creek (12) and Kevin Lisch (12) while every Boomer scored- a representation of their teamwork and dedication to the system on the offensive end.
Australia’s bench accounted for 43 points, epitomising the cohesive framework coach Andrej Lemanis continually preaches, while they also secured 20 more rebounds than their opponents.
It was not easy going for the Aussies, as they found themselves trailing in the second quarter while the Filipino crowd out-matched the Australian contingency through numbers and noise.
Despite that sometimes-hostile environment, the Boomers were able to keep their nerve and stay true to the system, ending the first half on a 12-2 run before pulling away in the third quarter with their ability to get to the free-throw line and force turnovers.
Australia finished with a +18 advantage from the charity stripe and they scored 16 points off turnovers as they locked down on the Philippines, forcing traps in the half court as well as five-second violations on out of bounds plays.
June Fajardo led the visitors with 15 points while former NBA forward Andray Blatche posted eight points, seven rebounds and two blocks.
Find the full box score here.
The Boomers’ path to the 2019 FIBA World Cup continues on Sunday at Margaret Court Arena against Chinese Taipei from 3.00pm local time.