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Boomers ready to crack China


AUSTRALIA could meet Trans-Tasman and Oceania rival New Zealand in a semi final at the FIBA Asia Cup in Beirut, but it first must get past troublesome China.

Coming from a double-digit deficit, China beat Syria 81-79 to qualify for a quarter-final match-up with the Boomers on Thursday in Lebanon.

The Tall Blacks, meanwhile, must negotiate Jordan in their quarter-final and should both the Oceania teams – contesting their historic first Asia Cup – advance, it will be to a semi final showdown.

Iran plays Lebanon, and Korea faces the Philippines in the quarter finals in the other half of the draw.

Korea, which knocked off the Tall Blacks in the group phase, took out highly-rated Japan to get to its quarter-final with the Filipinos.

Australia-China matches have become regular international fixtures in recent times, nurtured by the Sino-Aussie Challenge and furthered by the NBL All Stars twice facing Chinese national teams (and their officiating teams) in 2016 and 2017.

HAN FULL: China's Dejun Han finished strongly against Syria. Pic courtesy FIBA.com

Not having played since Sunday, the Boomers have had ample opportunity to recover, regroup and refocus for the tournament’s pointy end without injured warhorse Dave Andersen (shoulder).

Down by 15 during the third and with Syria’s Micheal Madanly en route to 35 points, China trailed 56-68 heading into the final period but produced a sizzling 25-11 quarter.

Dejun Han tied the game at 70-70 from the stripe with 5:54 left, the momentum completely with China which then took the lead on a 3-pointer by Junfei Ren.

Madanly trimmed it back to a point but China was not headed again, finishing the match triumphant and buoyed ahead of their match with Australia.

OUT! Despite Micheal Madanly's 35 points, Syria lost control to China. Pic courtesy FIBA.com

FOX SPORTS will show the match live from Lebanon but coverage actually starts at 1:20am Friday, Australian eastern standard time.

Get the kettle on!

Aug 16

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