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Australia raring to set benchmark for U15 Oceania
AUSTRALIA (FIBA U15 Oceania Championship) - Oceania powerhouse Australia is raring to set the standard in the upcoming FIBA U15 Oceania Championships in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea on November 4-8.
High-Performance Head Coach Peter Lonergan updated FIBA via email in their ongoing preparation for the first phase of the FIBA U17 World Cup.
"Our team was selected from our recent 4-day Australian Development Camp in Canberra, and the camp provided a good opportunity for the young athletes to get accustomed to the style of play in preparation for Port Moresby," said Lonergan.
"With limited preparation time, our focus has been on building on the concepts taught in the states and territories around the national style of play. The focus for our teams is very much about disruption on defense and playing with poise at the offensive end," he added.
The under-15 format is the youngest age group in an official FIBA tournament, will give national basketball federation programs to identify their future stars.
“"This is the first opportunity for all our young athletes to experience international tournament play so it will have a significant impact on them and our program as a whole. The expectations from our end is for our athletes and staff to represent the green and gold with pride, compete hard and respect our opponents."”
Australia which has been a traditional powerhouse in the Oceania region will target their first U15 championship but will face stiff competition in New Zealand, host Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, and Guam.
"Given the youth of the teams, it is difficult to gauge who would be favorites. New Zealand has a proven track record in these events and is always tough, but all nations in the zone have made great strides in recent years," acknowledged Lonergan.
The top two finishers of the competition will advance to the FIBA U16 Asian Championship while third and fourth place finishers will advance to Division B.
"The Asian zone is very competitive with some great basketball nations. It is a great opportunity for our teams to test themselves against these nations, so we are excited about having the opportunity should we qualify," ended Lonergan.