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Who will claim the FIBA U18 Asian Championship 2018? Australia or New Zealand
NONTHABURI (FIBA U18 Asian Championship) – The young stars of Asia have been battling intense over the course of the past 6 days and it has led to these two final teams clashing it out for outright FIBA U18 Asia supremacy.
WHO: Australia (5-0) vs New Zealand (5-1)
TIME: 3:45 PM (GMT +7)
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Australia have made their way to final stage by sweeping the competition in the Group Phase before handling Japan and the Philippines in the Final Phase, respectively. Their dominance can be spelled through their margin of victory – a cool 51.8 points per game.
New Zealand were placed in the same group as Australia and their clash in the Group Phase has been New Zealand’s only loss so far. They then went past India, Iran, and China before reaching the championship game,
MAIN STORYLINES: Australia and New Zealand have some past history between themselves which is a fire than could very well be rekindled. Most of these players were on these two respective teams in the FIBA U17 Oceania Championship – before they joined FIBA Asia – where Australia won the Finals in 2017 convincingly.
They meet here again and the stakes are just as high as any of their previous match ups if not more.
Australia’s rotation is evened out with no player averaging more than 20 minutes. The offense doesn’t rely on any one single player to contribute in particular and the bench players are ready to replace whoever is on the floor and keep the game going.
New Zealand also have a deep rotation, but they rely more on their top 5 players than Australia. In particular, the way their games go depend mostly on how well star guard Flynn Cameron plays.
KEY MATCHUPS: James Moors against Kyle Bowen/Samson Froling down in the paint is certainly intriguing, but the most important duel should be at the lead guard position.
As mentioned, New Zealand pretty much goes as Flynn Cameron (10.5 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 5.7 APG) goes so how he is matched up against Isaiah Lee (6.8 PPG, 4.4 APG) and Tamuri Wigness (7.6 PPG, 4.6 APG) will be crucial to the outcome of the game.
KEY NUMBERS: 17.8 = New Zealand’s turnovers per game, which is the most among the 8 teams in the Quarter Finals. If they want to avenge their Group Phase loss and win the title, they will need to cut that number down.