The Australian Emus defeated an in form Philippines side 77-43 to advance to the Final against traditional rivals, New Zealand
Before the game began, both the Australian and Philippines’ sides stood together for a photo. While there has been commentary surrounding this game, this made it clear to all that this match-up was about one thing only. Basketball.
From the first possession the Emu’s game plan was obvious, use their size advantage and get the ball inside. This led to the first bucket of the game for Kyle Bowen, who was found standing still under the basket, and flicked in the reverse layup
The Philippines continued to move the ball quickly, as they had all tournament, in an attempt to set up their outside shooting, however not much would fall their way early on.
Samson Froling hit the second shot of the game with a replica Bowen’s to put the Emus up 4-0 as the inside focused game began to take shape.
Starting point guard Isaiah Lee was fouled on the floater as Philippines accumulated two team fouls early in the first with the referees making it clear that any contact would result in a whistle.
The Philippines were the first of the teams to hit one from beyond the arc with Xyrus Torres knocking down what would be their only made shot from deep for the quarter, as the Philippines looked to rely the hot shooting that snuck them over the line against Bahrain
Kyle Bowen created his own chance for his second made shot with steal that lead to an open two-handed dunk, in a nice defensive effort with a solid reward.
Points in the paint were on the menu for the Emus as an open layup from Kody Stattmann forced a time-out from Philippines’ head coach Joshua Reyes to regroup as the Aussies continued to abuse their size advantage, as they had all tournament.
Two converted foul shots from Philippines player Kai Sotto brought the game back to eight all half way through the first term before a solid defensive rebound from Keli Leaupepe led to a contested hook shot from Stattmann, which he converted to regain the lead.
A bullet crosscourt pass from energetic guard Tamuri Wigness found Joshua Gatbel open on the wing, who then worked his way back inside for the roll-in layup as the Emus continued to go to work inside, foregoing some outside shooting opportunities.
Following an Emus time-out, Isaiah Lee continued with Perry’s instructions, putting the ball on the court and driving down the lane to create a free throw opportunity where he knocked down both.
A faster start to the quarter than the first, the Emus were able to immediately extend their lead as Samson Froling was able to work through the contact and convert a contested shot along with the following free throw for a three point play.
Froling then continued his hot run of shooting by knocking down Australia’s first three of the game, extending the Emu’s lead to eight points.
A pull-up jump shot from Tyler Robinson began to see the Emu’s offensive flow, as the following possession Wigness found Callum Dalton open in the corner has he knocked down second three.
Dalton was feeling it from the corner as Wigness was able to find the sharp shooter again for an exact replica of the shot, which he wilfully converted forcing a Philippines timeout.
The break didn’t stem the flow of Australian scoring as Stattmann was able to finish a nice drive, and on the inbound created a steal and finished under the ring with an under-handed circus shot.
Australia’s defensive pressure and strong rebounding was able to keep the Philippines scorning to only six points during the second quarter, while the Emus were able to continue to extend their lead thanks to a classy layup from Tamuri Wigness.
The Philippines missed four threes for the quarter came as they were unable to stop the Emus’ 12-0 run before Raven Cortez was able to hit a layup and claw back some points for the Philippines.
Closing out the second quarter, Callum Dalton made a statement on the defensive end with a strong block on the Philippines’ Dalph Adem Panopio.
The third quarter was opened with style as the Emus asserted their dominance inside thanks to a two handed dunk, with some extra mustard, from Samson Froling.
This was then closely followed by a Tyler Robertson three which hardly touched the net on the way through.
An offensive rebound from Kyle Bowen saw a breakdown in the Philippines defence as Lee found Stattmann left alone under the basket for the easiest two points for the game.
It took close to four minutes and a shooting foul inside for Philippines to hit the scoreboard in the third, with Gerry Abadiano knocked down both of his shots from the charity stripe to reopen his team’s account.
Another three from the corner was knocked down with 3:30 left on the clock, this time courtesy of Joshua Gatbel.
After a back and forth of missed shots, the Emus were able to finally create a scoring opportunity late in the third with a nice team play including two cross court skip passes, setting up Kyle Bowen under the ring for an easy layup, his eighth point of the game.
The fourth quarter saw no change in Darren Perry’s game plan as the Emus abused their height advantage and looked to extend their already sizeable lead, with the team finishing the entire game with 54 points in the pain, 30 more than the undersized Philippines side.
Tyler Robertson was able to reward the defensive pressure of Kody Stattmann which led to a steal, adding another two points onto the Emus score to kick off the final term.
Tamuri Wigness was able to showcase his explosive speed and soft touch as he split the full court press from the Philippines, weaving his way through the players to go coast-to-coast for his second scoring shot of the night.
The Philippines were not going to let the game escape them as the clocked ticked down through the final term with Miguel Oczon knocking down a three from way beyond the arc for his first points of the night.
The frenetic pace from the Emus continued despite the growing score differential as the Australians looked to capitalise off every opportunity, highlighted by a three pointer late into the term from Joshua Gatbel, his second for the game.
Australia were able to handle the early pressure from the Philippines and use their impressive size advantage in order to create good looks, along with 16 second chance opportunities, doubling their opposition’s.
A dominant performance from Samson Froling saw him lead the game in scoring with twelve points, along with collecting the most rebounds of his teammates with eight.
The Emus played an impressive team style of basketball, with defence the highlight. The Australians had 14 steals for the game, dwarfing their opposition who finished the game with only two.
The Emus will now play off for a gold medal against New Zealand tomorrow night.
The Australian Emus Schedule for the 2018 FIBA Under-18 Asian Championship (all times AEST):
August 5: Emus vs Thailand W 119-44
August 6: Emus vs Bahrain W 107-42
August 7: Emus vs New Zealand W 111-62
August 9: Emus vs Japan W 88-52
August 10: Semi-Final vs Philippines W 77-43
August 11: Gold Meal Game v New Zealand: 6:45pm AEST