27th FIBA ASIA Championship for Men has started at Manila, Philippines with 15 teams quest for the top Asian Basketball honor. After the suspension of Lebanon by International Basketball Federation (FIBA), only 15 teams are competing in the top basketball event in Asia with three qualification spot for the 2014 FIBA World Cup up for the grabs. Day 1 of the championship saw Iran showing no mercy to Malaysia as India lost to relatively low Bahrain in which India had hoped to win to qualify for the next round of the championship.
Iran defeated Malaysia 115 – 25
Asian powerhouse and one of the title contender of the championship Iran showed no mercy to South East Asian qualifier Malaysia by defeating 115 – 25 for the quest for their 3rd Asian title. Malaysia only managed to score 3 point through guard Wen Keong Tong as the the Persian powerhouse too the first quarter 42-3. Then Iran rested their starters in the 2nd quarter and Iran took the second quarter 16 – 10 to go to the break with 57 – 13 advantage. The domination continued in the third quarter, which Iran opened with a 33-0 run and took the third quarter 33 – 2 and Iran took the last quarter 24 – 10 to win the match 115 – 25.
Former Phoenix Suns center Hamed Haddad scored 21 points for Iran, the champion of the 2007 and 2009 edition of the championship while Guard Hong Hoong Gan led Malaysia with 11 points.
Chinese Taipei defeated Jordan, 91 – 87
Chinese Taipei came back from a double-digit third quarter deficit before surviving a late charge to defeat Jordan, 91-87. Chinese Taipei took the first quarter 26 – 20 while Jordan took the second quarter 21 – 15. Chinese Taipei was leading until halftime with 10 points, 51 – 41. Jordan came back strongly in third quarter to lead with the scoreline 67 – 65 but Chinese Taipei took the last quarter 26 – 20 to win the match 91 – 87.
Lin Chih-Chie of Chinese Taipei led his team with 27 points, six rebounds, and five assists. Chinese Taipei got a huge boost from naturalized center Quincy Davis, who posted 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Jordan, which is missing top players Sam Daghles, Zaid Abbas, and Rasheim Wright, was led by Baxter, who finished with 30 points in his FIBA Asia debut.
Qatar defeated Japan, 75 – 74
Qatar defeated Japan 75 – 74 in their opening match of the Championship. Japan took the first quarter 25 – 21 and also took the second quarter 16 – 14. Japan is leading with 41 – 35 going to the halftime. Japan also took the third quarter 20 – 18 and going to the last quarter, Qatar was still trailing by 53 – 61. But Qatar opened the final period with 12 – 2 run and took the last quarter 22 – 13 to win the match with the final score 75 – 74. Qatar’s naturalized player Jarvis Hayes, the former Washington Wizards first round pick who played seven seasons in the NBA showed his class, coming alive late in the game to help Qatar defeat Japan. Hayes scored 12 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter after going without a field goal in the first half. Veteran star Yasseen Musa added 12 points, 15 rebounds, and four assists for Qatar while Sharpshooter Kosuke Kanamaru sizzled for 27 points in Japan’s losing cause.
Korea defeated China, 63 – 59
Shocking result of the day 1 of the championship as the main title contender & defending champions China lost to Korea. The injury hut Chinese team lost 59 – 63 to Korea in their opening match of the championship. China took the first quarter 15 – 13 while second quarter was a draw with both team scoring 16 point each going to the half time with China leading by 2 points. Korea took the third quarter 17 – 11 while both teams scored 17 point each in the last quarter in which Korea beat the favorites China 63 – 59. Former NBA player Yi Jianlian led China with 23 points but was the only Chinese player to reach double figures. Kim Joo-Sung was the hero for South Korea as he scored team-high 15 points. It’s the first time for South Korea to beat their East Asian neighbors in the Asian Championships since 1997.
Philippines defeated Saudi Arabia, 78 – 66
The hosts and one of the title contenders of the championship Philippines struggled to defeat Saudi Arabia, supposed to be an easy opening assignment in the FIBA Asia Championship in their opening match of the 27th FIBA ASIA Championship for Men. Saudis raced to a 16-14 lead in the first quarter. Philippines, playing in front of the home crowd in an Asian championship for the first time in 40 years, rebounded by taking a seven-point lead at halftime, 35-28, but could not break away because of foul trouble, turnovers, and poor shooting. Philippines took the third and last quarter 22 – 18 and 21 – 20 respectively. LA Tenorio and Larry Fonacier led the scoring for Philippines with 12 points apiece while Aymam Almuwallad led Saudi Arabia with 18 points and Mohammed Almarwani added 12 points and 12 rebounds for Saudi’s.
Kazakhstan vs Thailand, 81 – 67
Ace forward Anton Ponomarev dominated with 21 points and 13 rebounds for Kazakhstan to cruise past South East Asian (SEABA) champions Thailand 81 – 67. As predicted the Kazakhs took an early lead by taking the first quarter 26 – 15 but the SEABA champions took the second quarter 18 – 16. The halftime score was 42 – 33 for Kazakhs. Kazakhs took huge lead in third quarter by winning the third quarter 27 – 14 and also took the last quarter by 20 – 12. Jerry Johnson added 15 points and eight assists for Kazakhstan while Darunpong Apiromvilaichai was the lone Thai player in double figures with 16 points.
Bahrain defeated India, 82 – 80
The group D encounter showed Bahrain managed the sneak-through India scare to earn all full points by defeating the South Asian (SABA) giants, 82 – 80. India cannot sustain the pressure in the extra period of the match to lost the game. Bahrain took the first quarter 25 – 17 and India took the second quarter 15 – 12. India took the third quarter 26 – 15 but Bahrain took the fourth quarter 18-12 to force the match in the extra time.
India seemed win the match in the extra period, taking an 80-76 lead entering into the final two minutes of the extra time but Ahmed Ismaeel of Bahrain hit two free throws, Mohamed Ebrahim hit a three-pointer to put Bahrain up with 49 seconds remaining of the match. Bahrain foiled India in the next possession, and Ismaeel hit one of two free throws with 11 seconds left. India’s three-point attempt with two seconds left was off the mark, allowing Bahrain to sneak-through them. India have now to play Central Asian Giant Kazakhstan and SEABA champions Thailand. Narendel Grewal led India with 25 points. India will try to bounce back on Friday against Thailand while Bahrain will take on Kazakhstan on the same day.
STANDINGS after DAY of the Championship (W-L)
Chinese Taipei (1-0)
Saudi Arabia (0-1)