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Aussies bringing in Big 9

FIBA Asia world cup qualifiers

MANILA, Philippines — Australia is bringing back nine players from their Asia Cup title conquest in the coming FIBA Asia World Cup qualifiers, easily making the Boomers the top pick in group plays versus Gilas Pilipinas, Japan and Chinese Taipei.

Coach Andrej Lemanis named his Final 12 a month before the opening window of the home-and-away qualifying series set late this month.

Chinese Taipei has also finalized its Last 12 while Gilas Pilipinas and Japan are still working on with their respective national training pools.

Holdovers from Australia’s Asia Cup champion team are Angus Brandt, Jason Cadee, Matt Hodgson, Mitch McMarron, Mitch Creek, Nick Kay, Brad Newley, Cameron Gliddon and Daniel Kickert.

Nathan Sobey, and Rio Olympics veterans Chris Goulding and Damian Martin have been called back to render service to their national team as they host the Japanese on Nov. 24 in Adelaide then play the Taiwanese in Taipei on Nov. 27.

Andray Blatche and his Gilas teammates take their turn to play Australia on Feb. 22 on the Boomers’ home soil.

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Gilas coach Chot Reyes has gathered together his pool only last Thursday with Calvin Abueva, Japeth Aguilar, Kevin Alas, Raymond Almazan, Mac Belo, Carl Bryan Cruz, June Mar Fajardo, Jio Jalalon, Allein Malicsi, Gabe Norwood, RR Pogoy, Troy Rosario, Jayson Castro and Matthew Wright making up the cast in the first two days.

Kiefer Ravena and Terrence Romeo are said to be still out of town while Blatche is set to fly in on Nov. 12.

Also in Gilas’ initial roster submitted to FIBA are Baser Amer, Russell Escoto, Kevin Ferrer, Von Pessumal, LA Revilla and Mike Tolomia.

Japan entered an initial 22-man lineup led by former PBA import Ira Brown. Noted local Japanese players in their roster include Takeuchi brothers Joji and Kosuke, and gunners Makoto Hiejima, Takuya Kawamura and Naoya Kumagae.

The Taiwanese have finalized a lineup that curiously doesn’t include their longtime naturalized player Quincy Davis, who’s been nursing an injury all the way back to the Jones Cup last July.

 Their team is composed of Chih-Wei Lin, Cheng Liu, Yi-Hsiang Chou, Huan Ya Yu, Po-Chen Chou, Long-Mao Hu, Cheng-Ju Lu, Yu-An Chiang, Po-Hsun Chou, Li Huan Chieng, Hung-Hsing Wu and Tai-Hao Wu.

 The Filipinos tangle with the Japanese in Tokyo on Nov. 24 then host the Taiwanese at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Nov. 27.

Australia, however, is the outstanding favorite in their group where Gilas Pilipinas, Japan and Chinese Taipei are likely to slug it out for the two remaining berths to the next round.

The Aussies were fourth placers in the last Olympics and handily hurdled all the opponents in their title run in the last FIBA Asia Cup in China.

“The quality of talent that we have to select from is pleasing and reflects on the healthy state of Australian basketball as well as the NBL,” said the Boomers mentor.

“There are a lot of players putting their hand up for selection and, in the end, we have tried to keep some continuity from the FIBA Asia Cup as well as adding two Rio Olympians,” he also said.

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