Aussie Boomers defeat Iran to win inaugural FIBA Asia Cup

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JUST when the moment mattered most, it was a Boomers veteran who pushed Australia over the FIBA Asia Cup finish line.

Brad Newley stepped up in a big way in Australia’s grand final game against Iran, leading the Boomers to the Promised Land in their inaugural Asia Cup appearance.

The Sydney Kings wing finished with an extremely efficient 18 points, as Australia picked up the 79-56 victory in Beirut, Lebanon early Monday morning.

Daniel Kickert chipped in with 14 points and six rebounds for Australia, while Mitch Creek continued his stellar tournament with 12 points, four rebounds, and four assists.

It was the 32-year-old Newley who got Australia out of the gates quickly, hitting two three-pointers in the first quarter to give the Boomers an admirable lead. However, the experienced Iran side wouldn’t back down, going on a 9-0 run to keep the game close heading into quarter time.

Despite some impressive play from experienced Iranian big-man, Hamed Haddadi – who got physical with Australia’s Angus Brandt – the Boomers were able to use their three-point shooting to extend the lead heading into the main break; holding a somewhat comfortable 43-26 advantage.

While Iran made admirable attempts to chip away at Australia’s lead – at one point, cutting their deficit down to 54-43 – the Boomers’ veterans, led by Newley and Kickert, made sure the game never got away from them.

A 10-1 run to star the final period meant it was a clean run to the final buzzer; Australia walking away with the 79-56 win, and the first-ever FIBA Asia Cup.

In a stunning ending to the tournament, no member of the Boomers was named the event’s Most Valuable Player, or even named to the All-Star Five.

Australia completed the tournament with an unblemished record – their lowest margin of victory, a 16-point win over Japan – but it was Haddadi, who finished the final with 18 points and seven rebounds, who was named the MVP.

Shea Ili (NZ), Mohammed Jamshidi (IRI), Fadi El Khatib (LEB), Sekeun Oh (KOR), and Haddadi (IRI) rounded out the tournament’s All-Star Five.

Still, it was Australia who walked away with gold, dismantling Japan, Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, China, New Zealand, and eventually Iran, en route to the championship.

The Boomers’ next set of games will come in November for the FIBA World Cup qualifiers.
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