The Aon New Zealand Under 17 Boys have placed third at the FIBA Asian Championship in Foshan with a 76-60 win over the Philippines on Sunday.
New Zealand fell into a 12-5 hole early in the contest, but nine first quarter points for Mitchell Dance helped give his team an 18-14 lead after 10 minutes.
The Philippines possessed a notable size advantage down low, but New Zealand’s frontcourt muscled up on both ends and effectively nullified the mismatch.
New Zealand held a 42-21 advantage at halftime, outscoring the Philippines 24-7 in the second quarter. Their large lead was a testament to some solid 3-point shooting, making 5-of-12 from beyond the arc. Five players each hit 3-pointers for New Zealand in the first half.
New Zealand had a superb tournament defensively, making life difficult in one way or another for all six of their opponents. They were able to maintain control of the game in the second half because of it, cruising to victory and a very impressive third place finish in Foshan.
The Philippines were held to 31.2 per cent shooting from the field and 30.4 per cent from three by New Zealand. Despite the Philippines’ size, New Zealand turned in a massive effort on the glass, grabbing a 48-37 advantage.
Marvin Williams-Dunn finished with a bang for New Zealand, posting 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting. Mitchell Dance contributed 16 points (6-of-16 FG) and seven rebounds in the win, while Jake McKinlay added 10 points. Tom Cowie was productive across the board yet again, recording six points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals.
New Zealand head coach Dave Bublitz was thrilled with the team’s effort in Foshan.
“It was a really good way to finish the tournament. To go to the Asian Championship for the first time and earn a bronze medal is something the boys can be really proud of,” said Bublitz.
“It was great to see all of the boys making a positive contribution when subbed in. It was a solid team performance to finish,” he said.
Bublitz and his staff will assemble in May to determine the squad that will head to Argentina for the FIBA Under 17 World Cup in June.
“The group will meet in early May where they will have to retrial for their spots,” he said. “It’ll provide extra motivation for them to put work in between now and then, so they can cement their spot in Argentina.”
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