MELBOURNE, Australia -- Australia remained undefeated in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, successfully defending its home court against Gilas Pilipinas, 84-68, at the Margaret Court Arena on Thursday evening.
After seeing a tightly contested first half, the Australians dominated the second -- leading by as much as 21 -- to protect their perfect record in the qualifiers.
Cameron Gliddon sparked Australia, scoring 12 of his 16 points in the second half and knocking down four threes in the game. Mitch Creek followed with another brilliant performance, finishing with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
The Boomers opened the game with an early rush with early points coming from threes and transition attacks. But Gilas' defense picked us and held the Boomers to 37 percent shooting in the first quarter. Roger Pogoy capped off the first quarter with a buzzer-beating three that tied the game at 19.
Australia stumbled early in the second quarter, missing nine of their first 10 attempts, allowing the Philippines a 30-25 advantage before going on a 10-0 run to lead 37-32 lead at halftime.
Australia took control in the second half behind Gliddon's hot shooting and inside scoring from Angus Brandt. The Boomers' big man finished with 13 points highlighted by a couple of dunks.
June Mar Fajardo led Gilas Pilipinas with 15 points on 7-for-11 shooting. He was the only Filipino who finished in double figures. Matthew Wright was the next best scorer, finishing with nine.
Australia proved ready for naturalized Filipino Andray Blatche who was limited to eight points and seven rebounds. He converted on only three of his 11 attempts.
Blatche will look to bounce back as Gilas Pilipinas heads home to host Japan on Sunday, February 25.
The Boomers, meanwhile, will stay home to play Chinese Taipei at the same arena on Saturday.
Attendance was announced at 6,504, with a strong showing by Filipinos.
Jason Cadee saw his share of struggles, missing all six of his field goals. He did, however, tally five assists while scoring two points from the free throw line.
Free throws really hurt the Philippines, especially in the first half. They were only 1-for-7 at halftime. They ended the game making just 7-for 19.
Gilas Pilipinas vs. Japan on February 25 at Mall of Asia Arena