BOCAUE, Bulacan -- It appears that the Boomers want redemption from their stinging loss against Japan on Friday by using that same lineup against Gilas Pilipinas in the final tiff of the preliminaries of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers at the Philippine Arena on Monday at 7:30 p.m.
The final 12 names were bared during the Team Managers' meeting on Sunday after the two protagonists had their separate practice sessions at this posh venue with the Boomers making no changes in the roster that dropped a 79-78 decision against the Japanese on the road -- snapping its four-game winning streak in this competition.
NBA campaigners Matthew Dellavedova and Thon Maker of the Milwaukee Bucks spearhead the quintet that still hopes to top Group B and carry a favorable advantage heading into the second round which begins this coming September.
Here is the official list released by the Australian contingent:
2 Nathan SOBEY - SG, 6'3"
3 Cameron GLIDDON - SG, 6'6"
4 Chris GOULDING - SF, 6'4"
5 Jason CADEE - PG, 6'1"
7 Thon MAKER - C, 7'1"
8 Matthew DELLAVEDOVA - PG, 6'3"
9 Mitch McCARRON - SG, 6'2"
11 Kevin LISCH - PG, 6'2"
12 Daniel KICKERT - PF, 6'10"
14 Angus BRANDT - C, 6'10"
24 Anthony DRMIC - SF, 6'4"
27 Nick KAY - PF, 6'9"
Head Coach: Andrej LEMANIS
After Maker and Dellavedova, there are two new faces in the Australian lineup that did not play against Gilas during their 84-68 triumph in Melbourne last February in Anthony Drmic and Chris Goulding; with the latter playing in the first window in November but was absent from the second window roster.
Drmic, 26, is a swingman who missed seeing his first action with the Boomers after recovering from an MCL injury that he obtained late in 2017. He played college ball in the United States for Boise State (the same establishment where PBA great Vince Hizon played for before moving to the Philippines) and graduated as the Broncos' second all-time leading scorer and was also a member of Australia's youth team, the Emus. He also was named the National Basketball League's (NBL) Rookie of the Year with the Adelaide 36ers in 2016.
Scouting reports have him to be a slasher with decent range and a very aggressive offensive demeanor.
Goulding, a Tasmania native, is a knockdown shooter who actually led the Boomers in scoring in the loss to Japan with 22 markers, including 5/8 from three point distance (and the last four points of the game for the Aussies) and had played in only two games in the tournament prior to last Friday's in the first window against Chinese Taipei and the Japanese (both victories garnered via routs).
Coming into the clash against Gilas, Goulding is shooting an incredible 60.9% from the field, including 9/17 from deep in competition (52.9% 3FG).
He is their most legitimate deep threat after Cameron Gliddon, who top scored for the Boomers with sixteen points (4/6 3ptFGs) in that second window win at home over the Philippines. Australia made a concerted effort to find Goulding in the end game against the Akatsuke Five and it almost worked out.
The addition of Drmic and Goulding gives the Australians an extra two-pronged attack option much like the Philippines had a Samboy Lim (Drmic) and an Allan Caidic (Goulding) back in the day-only this present day duo is obviously much taller and quicker.
Of course, the Filipino hoops fans are familiar with Dellavedova's exploits in the NBA, especially when he was still a role-player for the Cleveland Cavaliers when they captured their lone NBA title in 2016.
"Delly"-as fans love to call him-brings grit and determination to the forefront for the Boomers and although he was held in check in terms of scoring against the Japanese (only four points on 2/11 shooting from the floor), he led the squad in assists with eight and being a burly guard allows him to plow his way through defenses and dish off to open teammates before the double team can collapse on him.
Against the smaller Filipino guards, Delly could have an edge. And that perhaps is the reason why Gilas Coach Chot Reyes elected to activate the bigger Baser Amer sans Jio Jalalon for the prospect of that match-up. Goulding's presence may have been the trigger to bring in Carl Bryan Cruz over Allein Maliksi; a bigger defender against perimeter specialists.
Maker is the enigma in the equation.
He started off slow against Japan but still managed to end up with a double-double of 13/12 with one triple, but had zero blocks and zero assists.
Having the wingspan of nearly 7'3", Maker is tasked to be the team's rim protector but the skinny 21-year-old had his difficulties containing Japan's young bruiser Rui Hachimura and had issues keeping former NBA player and Petron Blaze import Nick Fazekas off the glass (Fazekas went for 25/12).
But assistant coach Luc Longley emphasized that they've only experienced Maker through five practices and one actual game, so if the Sudanese-Australian can use his length to bother the likes of Andray Blatche, June Mar Fajardo and Japeth Aguilar, then Gilas may have its struggles establishing that vaunted inside attack it used in their 93-71 conquest of their Taiwanese opponents last Friday in Taipei.
The veterans are also in the mix with towering marksman Angus Brandt and Euroleague warrior Kevin Lisch (who was curiously a DNP-CD against Japan last Friday) being brought back after scoring in double figures against the Philippines in Melbourne.
Coach Andrej Lemanis suddenly has a vast arsenal at his disposal, but will it be enough against an emotionally charged Gilas unit that just scored its biggest margin of victory yet in the competition? Will the pressure of playing in front of tens of thousands of rabid Filipino fans in the biggest venue of the region be too much to handle for the visitors? Or will the Aussies silence the critics back home and score their most convincing triumph yet against one of the fastest rising basketball programs in the continent?
Coach Chot advised the fans to wear blue on Monday to match the Gilas jersey. The game will also air LIVE on ESPN5 and ESPN5.com.