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Andrew Gaze defends inaugural Asia Cup after Australian Boomers thrash minnows Hong Kong

AUSTRALIA’S greatest basketballer Andrew Gaze has called for patience with the standard of the inaugural FIBA Asia Cup, saying it’ll pave the way for consistent international competition.

The maiden tournament in Beirut has resulted in lopsided scores — the Boomers have sent a side made up of NBL players but have record emphatic wins in their two outings.

Mitch Creek has been at the forefront of Australia’s Asia Cup dominance. Picture: AFP
Despite missing their NBA stars like Patty Mills and Joe Ingles, they beat Japan 84-68 before belting Honk Kong 99-58 to consolidate first place in Group D.

Gaze wants hoops fans to be aware of the bigger picture. He believes the Asia Cup will give nations invaluable opportunities to blood talent on the world stage.

“I think the Asia Cup is a really good thing for international basketball — you’ve got to start somewhere,” Gaze told The Daily Telegraph.

“In the Asian region we haven’t had this type of competition at a consistent basis for any period of time.

“I think it will take some time for the prestige of the event, the development of other countries before we get to a situation where we can replicate the European championships where it is extraordinarily tough.

“With this tournament a lot of countries don’t have their A team, so it’s great exposure for some of the players that are coming through the ranks to get some international experience.

“Eventually these other countries will use it to develop their talent and ultimately it will have a different type of perception and standard in 10, 20 years’ time.

“But that will take time and you’ve got to start the process first.”

Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis has been impressed with Adelaide captain Mitch Creek, Illawarra playmaker Mitch Norton and Sydney guard Jason Cadee, who are revelling after their green and gold call-up.

Fellow Kings star Todd Blanchfield is also making the most of his opportunity, tallying a game-high 18 points against Hong Kong.

“I think it was great that Todd was able to figure in the scoring,” Gaze said.

“We had a pretty significant margin and it was a matter of sharing it around, but he was good enough to get on the back of that and knock a few down.

“I think it’s great and it will be good for his confidence.

“But the (Asia Cup) will help all the Aussie players grow and when their number gets called at one of the bigger events, they’ll be better prepared.”

Australia should have no problems accounting for Chinese Taipei on Saturday night on the way to the quarter-finals on Thursday.

Author: MATT LOGUE, The Daily Telegraph
Source: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/basketball/andrew-gaze-defends-inaugural-asia-cup-after-australian-boomers-thrash-minnows-hong-kong/news-story/8f4cd79410fbf3edb096dfcbfddb5c46

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