The Emerging Rollers have put up a tough and classy fight against undefeated Thailand at the 7th Fazza International Wheelchair Basketball Tournament in Dubai.
By Leigh Gooding
The young squad prepared for the game by joining the undefeated Germany team of Pool B for a morning scrimmage session earlier in the day.
While the young team held their own against the German outfit, it also provided them with an opportunity to drill the defensive strategies for the Thailand clash.
The game started slowly though for the Aussie lads and nearly forced an early time-out as Thailand’s forwards in Kwanchai Pimkorn (9 points) & Tawatchai Jaisin (9 points) took control before the team settled through Jake Fulwood and Tom O’Neill-Thorne who found their range to get the scoreboard ticking over.
Young star O’Neill-Thorne (20 points) had his best game of the tournament while helping to do the defensive job on the overall leading scorer Aekkasit Jumjarean (23 points) who was averaging 39.5 per match.
Following the first quarter dominance by the Thai squad, the young Aussie team started to set-up defensively and restrict the Thailand team to only 10 points in the second quarter.
After that, it was a strong second half controlled by the Emerging Rollers that gave them a chance to win the game, with scoring by Matt McShane & Brian Carminati (6 points each) providing some offensive punch.
A third quarter ‘Stephen Curry’ type prayer shot from the Thai team re-gained their confidence though and allowed them to take a three-point lead into the three-quarter time break.
The young Aussie team again fought back in the fourth quarter to tie the game with only minutes left on the clock but a few plays went the Thai squad’s way as they continued their unbeaten start to the tournament with a five-point win.
This was great experience for the young Emerging Rollers outfit and it should provide the players with some great confidence going into the playoff game with the UAE team at 11.00am tomorrow morning.
Final score: Thailand 56 defeated Australia 51
1Q AUS 9 – 17
2Q AUS 10 – 10
3Q AUS 18 – 13
4Q AUS 18 – 16