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Shared pain fuels Boomers' World Cup tilt

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31st August, 2019
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There is no second-guessing what is driving Matthew Dellavedova as the Boomers’ point guard prepares for Australia’s basketball World Cup opener against Canada.

Three years on from Olympic heartbreak, Matthew Dellavedova isn’t banking on a repeat as he prepares to pilot the Boomers’ basketball World Cup charge.

The tough-as-nails point guard was distraught when Australia fell by one point in a gutting bronze-medal playoff loss to Spain in 2016 in Rio.

He is one of six members of that side – plus coach Andrej Lemanis – back for the Boomers’ World Cup campaign that begins on Sunday against Canada in China.

“I don’t know if there’s a difference. I just think that three years on (from Rio), the bonds are even stronger,” Cleveland NBA title winner Dellavedova said.

“Going through shared experiences like we did in Rio, it can go one of two ways and it’s definitely brought us closer.

“We’ve experienced things we don’t want to experience again, but we know the goal that’s out there and that’s what we’re all so hungry for.

“To have that opportunity to chase that again, with a very similar group, is pretty cool and I know we’re not taking it for granted.”

The Rio near-miss was one of four such finishes in equally gutting Olympic tilts, while the Boomers’ best finish in a World Cup is a quarter-final berth.

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Australia have five NBA talents unavailable, including All-Star Ben Simmons, but are still among the favourites after knocking off the United States for the first time last weekend in Melbourne.

Jagging a medal in Beijing on September 15 will be no easy feat, though, with only two of Canada, Lithuania, Australia and Senegal to emerge from their tough first-round pool.

It is likely France and Germany, who Australia had lost to on Wednesday in a friendly, will await in the second round, while Serbia, Turkey, Spain and Greece boast squads who could topple two-time defending champions the United States.

Canada split their pre-World Cup series with Australia 1-1. But they have welcomed Sacramento Kings guard Cory Joseph into the squad to face them on Sunday in the southern city of Dongguan.

Andrew Bogut is likely to play after completing training on Saturday night, allaying fears somewhat after tweaking his ankle in Wednesday’s loss.

Utah Jazz favourite Joe Ingles is aware how treacherous the path is, but says they are ready to get down to business.

“You’ve got to keep winning the whole way right,” he said.

“Every (pool) game’s tough; all three will be tough in different ways.

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“I don’t think we’re in a knockout mindset … but we know how important every game is.”

Australia’s first round pool games 
Sunday versus Canada (5.30pm AEST).

Tuesday versus Senegal (5.30pm AEST).

Thursday versus Lithuania (9.30pm AEST).

© AAP