AUSTRALIA pounced on the absence of Yuta Watanabe to give Japan the boot, 99-85, on Thursday to book their place in the semifinals of the 2022 Fiba Asia Cup at Istora Senayan in Jakarta.
NBA veteran Thon Maker led the way with 21 points, 13 rebounds, and five assists in 27 minutes for the unbeaten Boomers, who methodically tore apart a Japan side which sorely missed the presence of the Toronto Raptors forward.
The defending Asian champions now move on to the Final Four where they will face the winner of the remaining quarterfinal between New Zealand and Korea.
Rhys Vague got 19 points and five dimes, while Samson Froling poured in 15 points and six boards for the Boomers.
With Watanabe dealing with a sprained ankle incurred from the game against Gilas Pilipinas two days back, Australia jumped on an early 15-3 lead to set the tone for the rout as it enjoyed a 49-34 halftime lead which further grew to 21 points, 75-54 entering the payoff period.
It was a dominant performance for the Boomers down low with its 36 points in the paint while grabbing 51 rebounds to Japan's 29.
Keisei Tominaga paced the Akatsuki Five with 33 points on 8-of-15 shooting from deep, on top of his five rebounds, while Yuki Togashi registered 14 points and five assists in the defeat.
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