Hawks coach Rob Beveridge believes the club’s impressive Seri Mutiara Cup victory will provide his squad with a springboard into the upcoming NBL campaign.
Illawarra will head into their season opener against Melbourne United on Friday night on a high after completing a dominant week in Malaysia over the weekend.
The Hawks played five games in six days and finished with an emphatic 96-69 triumph over Jeonju KCC Egis in the final on Sunday evening.
Beveridge expects the win will give his men a much needed shot in the arm heading into the regular season.
"We're ready to go now," he said.
"The boys came together really well and it will give us a lot of confidence coming into the season.
"Everybody played at such a high level. We started off slow as we were trying to adjust to the food and the heat but it was an awesome trip for team bonding.
"With such a new squad it was a great chance for the guys to get to know each other. It was special to have everyone together.
Everybody played at such a high levelRob Beveridge
"We were surprised just how good it was.
"The level of competition was really good. A lot of their imports were all ex NBA players or fringe guys so it made it very competitive."
Beveridge felt his side’s defence was the cornerstone to their success over the last week. While they have been an offensive juggernaut in recent times, the experienced coach insists his squad will make a bigger impact at the opposite end of the floor in 2018-19.
"It's a little different to last year as we will be a more defensively orientated team. We've changed our mindset and are going to be more physical,” Beveridge said.
"We were getting up and in really well, particularly the last two games.
“We were running in the mud at the start but really destroyed teams with our defence over the week.”
Illawarra will host defending champions Melbourne at WIN Entertainment Centre on Friday night.
It comes just days after United coach Dean Vickerman penned a new three year deal at the club.
Melbourne warmed up for the new NBL campaign with back-to-back losses against NBA clubs Philadelphia 76ers and Toronto Raptors last week.