The Australia Boomers beat the New Zealand Tall Blacks 89-79 in Game 2 of the FIBA Oceania Championship and punched their ticket to Rio 2016.
Rio here we come......... #froffieswiththefellas— Andrew Bogut (@andrewbogut) August 18, 2015
Australia's starting center Andrew Bogut registered a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double and a highlight reel block. According to Fox Sports, Bogut was not even expected to suit up 48 hours prior.
"You cannot underestimate the significance of his performance," jubilant Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis said. "Physically, he was in significant pain. He could’ve said: ‘It’s too much for me’ and everyone would have understood."
Perhaps the biggest story, outside of Bogut's monster block, is his health. Playing through "significant" back pain, he gritted his way through the match, leading the Boomers to an Olympic berth.
"The body felt good," Bogut said afterwards of his decision to play. "I was battling a few little things but if you take enough pills and things you end up getting there. It worked out all right. I felt pretty good out there. Tomorrow morning won't be as good but we got the job done and we're going to the Olympics."
The veteran seven-footer said he was never going to miss the game once his body gave him the right message.
"I was good enough to play, and you never want to use injury as excuse," he said. "Obviously I didn't make the first flight as I was stuck in bed with an ice pack. But it responded pretty well, I got a lot of help from physios and masseuses, and I was satisfied I could get on the plane the next day and come out.
"I was a little tired but I felt all right."
Bogut's health has long been an issue. Let us hope that this summer hasn't worn him down for the upcoming season.
International play is always a tricky balancing act for the NBA and for stars who so desperately want to represent their national team. Playing on an international stage can lead to greater confidence, greater knowledge of one's self and of one's game, and can serve as a launching point for stardom. But just as often, international play can result in ill-timed injury. One only has to look at Dante Exum, who was a member of this same Aussie squad.
Let's hope that Bogut rejoins the Dubs with a fire lit under him from a successful run with the Boomers, and not with a chronically aching back that forces him to miss significant time next season.
Bram Kincheloe also contributed to this post.
How worried are you about Bogut's back?
This poll is closed
Ehh, he'll be fine.
I wish he hadn't played for the Boomers, but will withhold judgement until he suits up next year.
Petrified of him missing significant time.
DEFCON LEVEL 10 FREAKING OUT.