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AC: Opals brutalise Manila folders

AUSTRALIA tonight fired a shot across the bow of its FIBA Asia Cup opponents in Bengaluru, India, smashing the Philippines 123-57 in a powerhouse performance by the world's #3 ranked nation.

Led by Ezi Magbegor's 18 points, the Opals had eight players score in double figures - Jenna O'Hea 17, Abby Bishop, Bec Allen, Steph Talbot, Cayla George, Sara Blicavs all with 11, Lauren Nicholson 10 in just 12:56 of action - Nicole Seekamp a point back at nine, and all 12 players scored.

Nicholson had the least time and Katie Ebzery the most with 19:47, coach Sandy Brondello having the luxury of spreading the load across her deep and richly-talented group.

TIME MANAGEMENT: Lauren Nicholson checks out, having made the most of her debut.

Magbegor and George monstered the smaller Filipinos throughout, Ezi's 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting, plus six rebounds, an assist, two steals and three blocks.

George started strongly as the Aussies powered to a whopping 38-16 lead at the first break, finishing with a double-double, her 11 points topped by 14 rebounds.

But this was a record-setting performance by the Opals, the most telling stat a rebound mauling for the ages. Australia had 70 (28-42) rebounds to 19 (6-13). But it also dished 41 assists to 11, shot at 54 percent to 31 and had 15 steals amid the Philippines' 17 turnovers.

Realistically and on any international stage, those are mind-boggling numbers.

LEADING THE WAY: Ezi Magbegor led the Opals' even scoring with 18, dominating the paint.

A string of second quarter three-bombs by the Philippines prompted a Brondello timeout and a refocus, the Opals employing a zone defence along with extended fullcourt pressure.

The Australian rampage continued after halftime with a 25-6 third period as the girls from Manila folded, becoming overtly physical in the frustration of their own inadequacies.

The officiating often turned a blind eye - maybe it's something Andrew Bogut can bring up in his discussions with FIBA - as the Opals pumped up the heat with another decisive 37-17 quarter to close the non-contest.

Leilani Mitchell's return to the green-and-gold culminated with nine assists in 18:06 of action, and Talbot added four rebounds, six assists and four steals to her 11 points as Australia completely overshadowed a beleaguered opponent.

WELCOME RETURN: Bec Allen brought back her scoring punch and defensive length.

In tonight's other Group B match, China took out New Zealand 67-44.

AUSTRALIA OPALS 123 (Magbegor 18, O'Hea 17, Bishop, Allen, Talbot, George, Blicavs 11, Nicholson 10; George 14 rebs; Mitchell 9 assts) d PHILIPPINES 57 (Miranda 17, Bernadino 15; Bernadino, Miranda 4 rebs; Daez, Miranda 2 assts).

SEEK AND DESTROY: Nicole Seekamp finishes at the basket. All pics courtesy

Sep 24

Content, unless otherwise indicated, is © copyright Boti Nagy.