FIBA World Cup qualification: Australia beat Philippines 84-68 to top table

By @saihoops on
Boomers, Australia's basketball team, FIBA World Cup qualification
Australia's players applaud their supporters after losing to Slovenia 87-58 in their FIBA Basketball World Championship game in Istanbul September 5, 2010. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

The Boomers, Australia's basketball team, overcame a strong Philippines squad on Thursday night to claim top position in the FIBA World Cup qualification table. With most of Australia's top stars playing overseas in the NBA, the short-handed Boomers squad overcame the Philippines at the Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne.

Despite playing at home, it felt like an away fixture for Australia as throngs of supporters came out to cheer the Gilas Pilipinas, Philippines men's national basketball team. According to The Herald Sun, the Australians were "booed and jeered mercilessly by the Gilas Pilipinas’ boisterous fans."

The visitors fed off the strong support as the game was evenly poised entering the halftime break. However, the Aussies responded strongly in the second half as Boomers captain Cameron Gliddon scored a game-high 16 points, including three three-pointers in the third quarter as his team prevailed 84-68.

FIBA World Cup qualification: Boomers dominate the glass

Gliddon credited the team's rebounding and defence for the victory. The Boomers out-rebounded Philippines 50-30 and gained a ton of extra possessions in the second half. "We got a lot of stops (on defence) and it fuelled our offence. Getting Mitch Creek and guys like that out in transition, it's hard to stop so when we got a couple of easy buckets and we were able to set our defence back up and really lock in and get gritty with it, that's when we started to pull away."

Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis believes the team is on the right path despite a few hiccups. "Everybody comes in and does their little part so that over the course of 40 minutes, we can sustain a level that we believe is hard to play against. What I was really pleased with was our attitude and reaction to when the Philippines got in front. We didn't get stressed or panicked or go away from those things that we believed that we needed to do," said the coach of the Boomers.

The Boomers now need a victory against the bottom-placed Chinese Taipei on Sunday to advance to the second round of FIBA World Cup qualification. They are currently in the top spot in Asia's Group B. The match will be staged at the Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne, Australia.