Clinical Boomers clinch FIBA Oceania C'ship

Clinical Boomers clinch FIBA Oceania C'ship

Australian Boomers stars Patty Mills and Joe Ingles made sure their country remains king of Oceania after taking a 2-0 win over New Zealand in the FIBA Oceania championship for men on Sunday.

With both sides already qualified for next year’s FIBA basketball world cup, the Boomers will receive a higher seeding for the tournament draw after winning game 2 of the series 76-63 at the AIS Arena in Canberra in front of a sell-out crowd.

Mills had 13 of his 21 points in a match-winning third quarter run as the Boomers went from trailing by six points at half time to leading by 15 at three quarter time.

Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis said his side had learnt some valuable lessons in the series.

Lemanis also praised his players for their commitment to playing in the series and shortening their off-seasons.

“There are good examples to take from two games on things we did well and things we didn’t do as well,” Lemanis said.

“In the second quarter in New Zealand and the second quarter here, we didn’t get the ball movement we needed and had to settle for jump shots.

“When that happens things can go against you pretty quickly in matches, so we have to get better in that area.

“In the third quarter we came out with great intensity defensively, we were aggressive and things started opening up for us on offence.”

Mills compared playing his first game at the AIS Arena to playing in the NBA finals and in the Olympics.

“It’s right up there, as crazy as it seems,” Mills said.

“It’s good to get one under the belt and to close out a series here.”

Mills said the commitment of his teammates to the Boomers would enhance the team’s medal chances at the world cup.

“All the guys showing up was a good reflection, it shows we are committed,” Mills said.

“Everyone has got to understand the goal and understand it well.

“Whether the team is different or the same, everyone has to be committed to the program again.

“It will be all about motivation and commitment.”

Mills was named most valuable player of the men’s series.

The Canberra-born NBA guard added five steals and was not the only Boomer in form with Ingles influential across the court with 12 points, four rebounds and six assists while Adelaide 36ers guard Adam Gibson scored 11 points and added four assists off the bench.

Tall Blacks guard Corey Webster led his side with 16 points.

The European based Ingles scored seven points in the first term as the Boomers shot at 56 per cent helping themselves to a 20-17 quarter time lead.

The Tall Blacks found their shot and knuckled down on defence in the second term with the frustrated Boomers struggling to find open shots.

On the back of 10 first half points from Webster the Tall Blacks took a 39-33 lead into half time with Mills leading the Boomers with eight points.

It was all the Boomers in the third term with Mills taking over the game from the start of the third forcing a steal and open layup then making a three-pointer in transition from an Ingles pass.

With the crowd getting into the game, the Boomers pressured up the court forcing the Tall Blacks into four turnovers for the term and at the same time kick-starting their running game.

Mills made the most of more open shots to score 13 points for the term as the Boomers took the lead then extended their advantage to double figures.

During the third quarter Tall Blacks guard Rueben Te Rangi was too physical in trying to stop a Mills’ drive to the basket flooring the Australian guard and earning an unsportsmanlike foul.

Emerging Boomers star Dante Exum, 18, was touted as a future NBA first round pick during the week and was introduced to the game late in the term lighting up the crowd with an athletic alley-oop layup as the Boomers led 61-46 at three quarter time.

The Boomers controlled proceedings for the whole final term with Exum and fellow teenager Ben Simmons coming into the game in the final minutes replacing Mills and Ingles.

The FIBA basketball world cup will be in Spain in August and September next year.