AUSTRALIA arranged a semifinal showdown with Batang Gilas with an 88-52 victory over Japan on Thursday in the Fiba Under-18 Asian Championship in Nonthaburi, Thailand.
New Zealand has also advanced to the semifinals, where it will meet either Korea or China, in the tournament where the top four also secure berths to the 2019 Fiba Under-19 Basketball World Cup.
The Philippines booked a slot to the Asian semis and a berth in the world meet for the first time since 1979 by beating Bahrain, 67-52, in the quarterfinals.
Kyle Bowen had a double-double of 22 points and 13 rebounds for Australia, which shot 57.4 percent from the field.
The match between the two top countries in the zone comes just a little over a month after a Fiba World Cup qualifying match between Gilas Pilipinas and Australia devolved into a brawl and resulted in suspensions and massive fines.
Australia has been the most impressive team in the tournament, handily blasting its opponents by an average of 56.25 points, with the biggest coming from opening day with a 75-point demolition of host team Thailand, 119-44.
Six-foot-11 center Samson Froling has been at the forefront of the fight for the Boomers Junior, averaging 15.3 points and 10.3 rebounds, while also being supported by hardworking forward Kyle Bowen, who garnered 14.3 points and 10.8 boards through four games.
Sean MacDonald is also Australia’s designated marksman with his 16.0 points on a 60-percent shooting from threes, while Kody Stattman is the team’s do-it-all guard with averages of 12.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 1.5 steals.
The Filipino frontline bannered by AJ Edu and Kai Sotto will have their work cut out for them, with the Aussies ranking second in scoring (106.3 points) and field goal shooting (51.6-percent), as well as being the best rebounding with 60.3 boards per game. - With reports from Randolph B. Leongson