THE final match-up in the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-18 Boys Championship Division kicks off this week with the Bulleen Boomers coming up against the Melbourne Tigers at State Basketball Centre.
Bulleen opened their finals’ series with a four point loss against Nunawading (50-46), while Melbourne stood firm over Diamond Valley with a 66-53 victory. Both teams advanced to the semi-finals, which saw Melbourne roll over Dandenong (75-65) and Bulleen responding big against the Keilor Thunder (72-42). Last week, both sides cemented their spots for the big dance as Melbourne snared a 60-66 win over their second top-four side in Nunawading and Bulleen picked up a second consecutive 30-point victory to crush finals favourites, Kilsyth (45-75). They both face their biggest challenge this week, with Melbourne presenting comfortably the against top four sides and Bulleen picking up stellar form at the right time.
NBA Global Academy player, Joshua Giddey, has sparked the biggest revival to Melbourne’s season. Besides averaging 19.8 points per game (PPG) from four outings and 25 and 27 points in his last two games, the 2021 prospect could also be NBA bound. Giddey’s efforts at the FIBA Under-17 Oceania Championship led Australia to a gold medal, where he averaged 16.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and five assists per game. He has been accompanied well by Patrick Twigg (11.4) this season, who has been an important mainstay for the Tigers, closely followed by Jordan Adams (10.4) with 11 and 12 outings respectively.
For the Boomers, Owen Foxwell has been standout with 15.1 PPG from 12 outings. In Bulleen’s last two hit-outs, Foxwell stepped up to record back to back 20-point games, while top-20 counterpart Anthony Dell’Orso slowed with six and nine.
In their last outing against each other, Bulleen walked away decisive victors (41-70). Dell’Orso and Thomas Giannatos stood up to record 18 and 12 points respectively, while Adams held down the fort for Melbourne with 18 of his own. In the rematch, Giddey’s return is likely to shake up Bulleen unfaultable fortnight, as the State Basketball Centre prepares to host the game of the year this Friday night.