12 - 24
July 2022
Team AUS
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On this day in 2017, Boomers claimed first FIBA Asia Cup title in debut

BEIRUT (Lebanon) - Australia played in the FIBA Asia Cup for the first time back in 2017. After six wins in the span of nearly two weeks, the Boomers also won their first FIBA Asia Cup on August 20, 2017.

"I still have the photo in my phone in my favorites which is of us all holding our medals up, biting them on stage" - Mitch Creek

 Running through the tournament might have seemed easy for Australia. They beat all of their opponents by an average of 29.0 points. Their biggest win by a 50-point margin over Chinese Taipei while the smallest margin of 16 points was their debut game against Japan. While they were able to handle their opponents effectively, it was not as easy as it might have seemed.

Australia won all six games on their way to clinch the trophy in Lebanon

"We knew we were going into the competition where people were talking about us being the favorites but we knew that we had great competition across the board," said Mitch Creek in a recent talk with FIBA Asia Cup.

In particular, it was the title game that pushed Creek and the Boomers to really show up to win the title.

"We played Iran in the Final and the big fella [Hamed Haddadi] was just an absolute monster," Creek also admitted, recalling how Iran scored their first points on a Haddadi dunk.

"The first thing we said was to not let him dunk it, don’t let him finish at the rim. He spans towards the baseline twice [for a dunk] and then one was of a dump off for a dunk [by Arsalan Kazemi] so we didn’t do a great job starting the game."

Iran went off a 9-0 run in the middle of the first quarter to keep it close. Nonetheless, it wasn’t enough to hang along with Australia for the rest of the way. The effort put by Iran to try and beat Australia did not go unnoticed.

Iran scored the first points of the game on a Haddadi dunk

"That was just an incredible team. Full credit to them and they beat us [later] as well," Creek said, referring to Australia’s loss to Iran in the World Cup Qualifiers.

As the final score flashed 79-56 on the scoreboard, the Boomers were finally able to celebrate their hard-earned victory.

"To raise your hand and say you’ve just won a gold medal regardless of where it is or at what level - I still have the photo in my phone in my favorites which is of us all holding our medals up, biting them on stage - it was absolutely a surreal feeling and one that I hope to live again and to have that feeling in the coming years," Creek said.

Powering the Boomers through to hoisting the trophy, aside from their high level of play, was just the cohesion of the entire unit and the chemistry that they had together. No matter who they went up against, they had nothing to fear because of how confident they were of each other.

Four players scored in double-digits in the title-clinching game with Creek chalking up 12 points.

"The introduction to the FIBA Asia Cup was obviously a great one for us," Creek said. "We came away with the gold medal, we played some great opponents. We knew we had some formidable battles on our hands, but we’re top-quality teams that had some big centers and some great shooting guards, those who I still stay in touch with and keep close-knit because obviously we’re going to run out with these teams in the future."

It’s a future where Australia might have to face the likes of China, Japan, and Iran once again - teams that Creek mentioned to be tough games he enjoyed playing in.

Until then, Australia will remain the defending champions of the FIBA Asia Cup after having won the title on August 20, 2017.

How well can you recall Australia's undefeated run to win Asia Cup 2017?