Follow FIBA on Facebook
Five takeaways from Semi Finals of FIBA U18 Asian Championship
NONTHABURI (FIBA U18 Asian Championship 2018) – The Semi Finals of the FIBA U18 Asian Championship 2018 ended with the Australia and New Zealand beating the Philippines and China, respectively, setting up the Championship game.
Here are five takeaways from the Semi Finals of the FIBA U18 Asian Championship 2018:
1- Australia Flipping the Switch
The Philippines tipped off the first quarter of the Semi Finals game upbeat and full of energy, holding Australia to only 16 points and a 4-point lead.
From the second quarter onwards was a completely different story. Australia locked the Philippines down for only 4 points for the next six minutes and blasted off for 20 points of their own. Even as they loosened up in the second half, the Philippines still struggled to make a dent.
Coaches always tell their team to never play with the expectation that they can just flip the switch, but for this one game it seems like that’s what Australia just did.
2. Cameron Saving Best for Last
New Zealand’s point guard Flynn Cameron didn't enjoy the best of performances heading into the Semi Finals. After averaging only 7.3 points, 3.5 assists, and 6.0 rebounds in the first 4 games, Cameron has exploded for 17.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 7.0 assists in the decisive games. Today’s triple-double of 19 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 assists against China was a testament of how good he can be and how much New Zealand needs him to be at his best.
There’s only one more game in this tournament left to play, so if Cameron has been hiding anything else up his sleeve, now is the time to show it.
3. New Champions
Australia knocked out 6-time champions Philippines while New Zealand took down 11-time champions China. This means that for the first time since 1990, there will be a FIBA U18 Asia champion that has never won the title.
For almost 40 years, the tournament winners have been either China, Iran, Korea, or one-time champion Japan. Either Australia or New Zealand will break the streak and add new flavor to FIBA U18 Asia supremacy.
4. 11-Man Australia
Australia were once again comfortable rolling out their 11-man rotation even as the Semi Finals pressure started clenching down. And there’s no reason for Coach Darren Perry to change at this point of the tournament either. All of his players from top to bottom have been able to come in and replace each other seamlessly. Only point guard Isaiah Lee averages more than 20.0 minutes per game, and even then he’s just averaging 20.3 MPG.
There is no pressure to exhaust big man Samson Froling and Kyle Bowen or need to overuse potential NBA prospect Tamuri Wigness.
Australia are committed to being a team and want to be known for that.
5. Respect for the Semi Finalists
Neither the Philippines nor China backed down until the very last second of the game and there is respect due for those efforts.
China fought through dagger after dagger as New Zealand tried to break away with the lead. They never gave up on a single play and it kept them in the game. Despite watching as the lead expand bigger and bigger, the Philippines never let up as well. They played hard on both ends of the floor and never let the large Filipino crowd at Stadium29 down.
Though these two teams failed to make it to the Finals, they know that they gave it their all and they will eventually get better from that effort.