MATTHEW Dellavedova braces for an even hostile crowd as Australia faces Gilas Pilipinas anew in their FIBA World Cup qualifier rematch on Monday.
Still reeling from a shock 79-78 loss to Japan at the Chiba Port Arena in Tokyo, the Boomers will now have to contend next with a Philippine side whose morale is high after a rousing 93-71 victory at Chinese Taipei over the weekend.
The Boomers, who arrived on Saturday, and their Filipino hosts clash at 7:30 p.m. at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan in their first meeting in the tournament since Australia beat Gilas at home, 84-68, last February.
For someone who’s been used to playing in enemy territory, the 27-year-old Dellavedova, who plays for the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA, expects the jeers to rain from a capacity crowd at the world’s largest indoor arena.
“It’s gonna be an intense environment, a high-energy game,” said the Australian guard during a sit-in interview arranged by Peak Sports Philippines on Sunday at the Seda Hotel in Vertis North.
“People here are very passionate about their basketball, so it’s going to be fun.”
Along with fellow Buck Thon Maker, Dellavedova suited up for the Boomers for the first time during the third window of the qualifier, their stint spoiled by the hot-shooting Nick Fazekas (former Petron import) and the Japanese who dealt Australia its first loss in Group B and relelated it to a tie with the Philippines for first place.
Dellavedova, winner of an NBA title with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2016 Finals, admitted he as well as the Boomers didn’t really play well against the Japanese.
“We’re disappointed with how we played in that game,” said the Aussie from Maryborough, Victoria, who himself was held to just four points on 2-of-11 shooting from the field, though he did have eight rebounds and three assists as the starting playmaker of the Boomers.
“Definitely I want to play better tomorrow night. I thought I played well but didn’t shoot very well,” said the St. Mary’s College alum. “Definitely I want to shoot better tomorrow night.”
The Australian guard , coming over to the country for the second time, expects Gilas to try and maximize its strengths by running at every opportunity and scoring in the transition.
“It’s gonna be a fast-paced game. They (Filipinos) love to penetrate, drive and kick, and play very aggressive,” said the Peak sports endorser.
“We just have to make sure we take care of the basketball and limit our turnovers. We also have to get good shots so we can get back in transition defense.”
While the stunning loss to Japan could be a good motivation for the Boomers to bounce back, Dellavedova said the team is always motivated to play every game.
“Motivation means always 100 percent playing for your country,” he stressed.