The FIBA Asia 2013 Championship is certain to be a competitive one as the top teams in the region battle to be named the best.
Additionally, there are three spots in the FIBA World Cup available to the qualifying squads out of the 15 who enter. Lebanon would have been the 16th team, but were suspended for not meeting the latest requirements, according to Dany Abboud of The Daily Star.
Still, there are a number of quality teams looking to show their ability on the big stage. There are also plenty of players worth watching, including Hamed Haddadi and Yi Jianlian.
All basketball fans should check out this tournament and follow along with this convenient tracker recapping each day's events.
Scores for August 1 (via Asia-Basket.com)
|A||Philippines def. Saudi Arabia||78-66|
|A||Chinese Taipei def. Jordan||91-87|
|B||Qatar def. Japan||75-74|
|C||South Korea def. China||63-59|
|C||Iran def. Malaysia||115-25|
|D||Bahrain def. India||82-80|
|D||Kazakhstan def. Thailand||81-67|
The biggest news of the day was clearly the 63-59 upset of South Korea over China.
As the highest ranked team in this tournament, according to FIBA, China was expected to cruise through this championship and earn a spot in the World Cup. However, that will be much harder to do after an opening loss to Kim-Joo Sung and the rest of South Korea.
Yi Jianlian had 23 points and 10 rebounds in the loss, and the squad now falls to third place in Group C.
Considering Iran defeated Malaysia by 90 points in its opening matchup, it is clear that this squad is not messing around, either. Fortunately, three teams advance to the next round, but China will still have to play better in its upcoming games.
Most of the remaining games were much more competitive, including an overtime contest between Bahrain and India. Mohammed Kawaid scored 25 points for Bahrain to help give his side a two-point victory.
Qatar and Chinese Taipei also had narrow victories over Japan and Jordan respectively, which will be a huge boost to both squads trying desperately to simply advance to the next stage.
Either one has an outside shot of qualifying for the World Cup, but it will take more strong efforts going forward.
Finally, the Philippines put itself on the map with a 12-point win over Saudi Arabia thanks to a balanced attack from the entire squad. In a relatively weak group, do not be surprised if this team is able to make a deep run in the tournament.
The action continues on August 2 with more group play, so we will know more about which teams are advancing by then.
Scores for August 2 (via Asia-Basket.com)
|A||Chinese Taipei def. Saudi Arabia||90-67|
|A||Philipines def. Jordan||77-71|
|B||Japan def. Hong Kong||76-59|
|C||Iran def. South Korea||76-65|
|C||China def. Malaysia||113-22|
|D||India def. Thailand||89-65|
|D||Kazakhstan def. Bahrain||79-76|
Group A leaders Chinese Taipei blew away Saudi Arabia by a final score of 90-67 to improve to 2-0 in group play.
The Saudis kept things close until the second half when Taipei built a 20-point lead and held onto a 19-point advantage heading into the final period.
Taipei’s Lu Chen-Ju led all scorers with a 25-point effort in the victory. Marzouq Almuwallad led Saudi Arabia in its defeat with 15 points.
Chinese Taipei isn’t alone atop of Group A, though, as Philippines secured a narrow win over Jordan, 77-71, to join them. Trailing by five points in the third quarter, Philippines exploded on a 20-4 run and never looked back. Jordan made a last-ditch effort, rattling off a 9-3 run in the final few minutes, but never really got within striking distance.
Jeff Chan and Jayson Castro led the way for Philippines, scoring 17 and 16 points respectively. Jordan’s Mohammad Hadrab led all scorers with 19 points.
In Group B Japan rebounded from a tough one-point loss to Qatar on Thursday by getting in the winner column with a 76-59 win over newcomer Hong Kong. The team decisively pulled ahead with a 14-2 run in the third period.
Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Wai led all scorers with a 23-point performance. The Japanese were led by Naoto Tsuji and Kosuke Takeuchi, both dropping in 17 points for the winners.
Two-time FIBA champion Iran recorded its second consecutive victory after edging South Korea 76-65 in Group C play on Friday.
The Koreans kept things close down the stretch, pulling within seven points before top scorer Hamed Haddadi dropped in seven straight points to put the Iranians in the driver’s seat. He finished with 30 points on the afternoon.
Also in Group C, China absolutely demolished Malaysia by a laughable 113-22 margin. The Malaysians now have a point differential of -181 after two contests.
In Group D, Kazakhstan narrowly edged Bahrain 79-76 in overtime to improve to 2-0 in group play. Bahrain played its second straight overtime game but was unable to hang with the group leading Kazakhstanis in the extra period.
Kazakhstan’s Rustam Yargaliyev led all scorers with 19 points that included a 50-percent shooting performance from downtown. Bader Malabes dropped in a respectable 14 points to lead the Bahrainis.
Winless Thailand—who stayed winless—and the still unbeaten Indian team battled in each team’s second appearance. This one was never really close either. Indiana built a 27-13 lead after one period and carried a 46-30 advantage into halftime.
Thailand kept it somewhat respectable, closing the gap to 15 points in the fourth quarter, but ultimately ended up being blown out.
Scores for August 3 (via Asia-Basket.com)
|A||Chinese Taipei def. Philippines||84-79|
|A||Jordan def. Saudi Arabia||63-47|
|B||Qatar def. Hong Kong||87-64|
|C||Iran def. China||70-51|
|C||South Korea def. Malaysia||80-58|
|D||Kazakhstan def. India||89-65|
|D||Bahrain def. Thailand||86-62|
Day 3 Recap
Saturday marked the final matchups in group play at the FIBA Asia championship, with each of the countries vying for a spot in the second round. The top three teams in each group advance to play in the second round, so every team in attendance in the Philippines came prepared to push their way forth and avoid disappointing classification.
Chinese Taipei walked into Saturday's finale already having advanced, but they locked their standing in with a nail-biter win over the host Philippines. Despite getting out to a strong lead, Chinese Taipei were never able to pull away as both sides were battling for undefeated records in Group A.
It eventually took a scintillating 29-11 run in the fourth quarter to push Chinese Taipei over the top, getting them an 84-79 triumph. Cheng-Ju Lu led the charge with a game-high 22 points, and Chih-Chieh Lin added 20. Both teams will advance to the next round, with Chinese Taipei having won the Group A championship and the Philippines finishing second.
Elsewhere in Group A, Jordan stayed alive in the tournament with a 63-47 win over Saudi Arabia. Neither team made much of a dent against their more talented opponents, but Jordan's win allows them to move on to the second round.
In Group B—the one where everyone was already safe heading into the event—Qatar got a critical two points in the table to stay undefeated. They defeated Hong Kong's squad 87-64, with Jarvis Hayes coming through with a game-high 25 points. He leads the tournament at 22.5 points per game.
South Korea, a team mostly out of relegation danger heading into the day, kept it that way by being the latest squad to crush Malaysia in Group C. The Koreans opened up a 15-point lead going into halftime and survived a strong third quarter effort from the Malaysians to pull away for a 80-58 victory.
Seung Jun Lee was particularly impressive, making all eight of his field goals and adding in nine rebounds to lead the way for South Korea. At 2-1, they finished in second place in Group C and will move on to the second round. Malaysia did not win any of their three games in the tournament thus far, and will be relegated to the consolation side. They will play Thailand next.
As for the rest of Group C, things went about as expected between Iran and China. The Iranians' dominant performance in the FIBA Asias continued, as they handily defeated a game Chinese side 70-51.
A breakout star throughout this tournament, Hamed Haddadi's strong run continued Saturday. He scored 15 points and added seven rebounds for Iran, whose victory was never in doubt. They pulled ahead by 17 at the half and coasted their way through to victory.
Iran finishes the preliminary round with a perfect 3-0 record. They will be one of the favorites heading into Round 2. China advances despite a 1-2 record, finishing in third place.
India will also be advancing to Round 2 despite a 1-2 record, but won't be doing so thanks to their effort Saturday. The Indians were soundly defeated 89-65 by Kazakhstan, who come away from Group D as the undefeated champions. Kazakhstan were led by Mikhail Yevstigneyev's 22 points, and somehow stayed unblemished despite some close calls.
Bahrain's only loss came at the feet of the Kazakhs, as they advanced to the second round with an 86-62 win over Thailand. Mohamed Alderazi pushed the result with 21 points.
Scores for August 5 (via Asia-Basket.com)
|13-16 Place||Thailand def. Malaysia||71-56|
|E||Qatar def. Jordan||75-61|
|E||Taiwan def. Hong Kong||94-55|
|E||Philippines def. Japan||90-71|
|F||Iran def. India||102-58|
|F||China def. Kazakhstan||73-67|
|F||South Korea def. Bahrain||96-51|
Day 3 Recap
Monday marked the first day of second-round action from the FIBA Asia Championships, as six teams improved their chances of advancing to the knockout stage of the tournament.
Malaysia will finish last at the championships, as the country fell to Thailand for its fourth lost in as many games. Soo Eng Heng scored 19 points for Malaysia, which led all scorers throughout the matchup, but it wasn’t enough to keep his country alive in the classification stage of the tournament.
Group E play was highlighted by a dominant win by Chinese Taipei over Hong Kong. Chinese Taipei outplayed its opponent in every aspect of the game to win by 39 points. The team had five players finish in double figures while Hong Kong only had one player with at least 10 points.
Qatar and the Philippines each won their second-round openers by double digits. Jordan had three players with at least 10 points in its loss to Qatar, but no one else on the team had more than five points. Marcus Douthit scored 19 points and had 10 rebounds in the Philippines’s victory over Japan.
Iran is a force to be reckoned with, and is clearly the favorite to win the title at this stage of the tournament. The Iranians crushed India by 44 points and Hamed Haddadi didn’t even have that much of an impact (12 points, seven rebounds). Vishesh Bhriguvanshi was the only player on India with more than 10 points.
China and South Korea were also victorious on Monday, and will need to stay hot in the coming days to stay in the hunt for a spot in the knockout stage of the tournament. Iran shouldn’t have any trouble advancing, meaning the two countries need to take advantage of the Group D teams in Group F.
Scores for August 6 (via Asia-Basket.com)
|13-14th Place||Saudi Arabia def. Thailand||90-63|
|E||Jordan def. Hong Kong||80-54|
|E||Chinese Taipei def. Japan||79-76|
|E||Philippines def. Qatar||80-70|
|F||Iran def. Bahrain||75-56|
|F||China def. India||79-45|
|F||South Korea def. Kazakhstan||71-47|
Day 6 of the FIBA Asia championship has provided a lot of separation between the top and bottom teams in the tournament.
In this round, only four of the six teams in each group advance to the quarterfinals. In Group E, the advancing teams are almost completely decided already.
Chinese Taipei earned a narrow victory over Japan in the closest contest of the day. However, it was enough for the squad to move into first place in the group with a large enough point differential to make it tough to pass.
Joining them in the knockout round will be the Philippines and Qatar. While the former won a battle between the two today, Qatar had gotten off to a strong enough start in the tournament to earn a place in the quarterfinals as well.
This sets up a huge game between Japan and Jordan on Aug. 7. The winner will get a spot in the next round, while the other sees its championship hopes dashed.
There is much less decided in Group F as only Iran has clinched a spot in the next round. The club continued its streak of five-straight wins by double digits with a 75-56 win over Bahrain and will continue to be the team to beat in this tournament.
South Korea will likely also be in the next round after an impressive showing against Kazakhstan.
However, China is in much scarier territory heading into the final day of group play. The team received a positive result today, but a loss to Bahrain could send them to the fifth spot in the group and outside of the quarterfinals.
Finally, two positions in the final standings were decided as Saudi Arabia dominated Thailand. The Middle East squad can at least feel happy about leaving the tournament on a high note.
There is one more day of group action before starting the knockout stage, and things are certain to get interesting.
Scores for August 7 (via Asia-Basket.com)
|E||Jordan def. Japan||65-56|
|E||Qatar def. Chinese Taipei||71-68|
|E||Philippines def. Hong Kong||67-55|
|F||Iran def. Kazakhstan||85-53|
|F||China def. Bahrain||88-66|
|F||South Korea def. India||95-54|
The quarterfinals at the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship are set.
Day 6 featured six games and the final chance for bubble teams to claim one of the eight knockout-stage spots, but the group layout stayed mostly the same on Wednesday as it did when the day began.
The closest game of the day was between the Qatar and Chinese Taipei. With a chance to claim the outright top spot in Group E, Chinese Taipei didn't have an answer for Yasseen Musa's 20 points and 19 rebounds or a late basket from Daoud Musa.
With the Philippines knocking off Hong Kong in the final Group E game, Qatar, Chinese Taipei and the Philippines shared the top spot in the group. Because of the tiebreaker system (point differential), the Philippines will enter the quarterfinals as one of the top seeds.
In Group F, the favorites all took care of business.
Iran, China and South Korea all coasted to easy victories, with the Koreans taking down India by 41 points in a game they did not need to win to move on.
Bahrain, Hong Kong, Japan and India were all eliminated from contention. They will play each other in consolation games on Friday.
The eight teams that did make the quarterfinals will also play on Friday. At this stage of the tournament, it's now win or go home.
Scores for August 9 (via FIBA.com)
|1F vs. 4E||Iran def. Jordan||94-50|
|2E vs. 3F||Chinese Taipei def. China||96-78|
|1E vs. 4F||Philippines def. Kazakhstan||88-58|
|2F vs. 3E||Korea def. Qatar||79-52|
Hong Kong def. Bahrain 87-79
Japan def. India 73-64
Chinese Taipei pulled one of the bigger upsets of the tournament, or perhaps China was never as good as we expected them to be after all. With its star Jianlian Yi back in the lineup and having won its last three games in the second round, it seemed China was prepared to make a run at a spot in the FIBA World Cup.
All of those plans were squashed by a red-hot Chinese Taipei team that made 50 percent of their three-point shots. Quincy Davis III was dominant with 26 points and 10 rebounds. He made 12-of-13 shots from the field.
Yi was good with 22 points and 10 rebounds in his return, but not good enough.
Elsewhere, Iran continued to rip through the competition improving to 6-0 with a 94-50 rout over Jordan. Hamed Haddadi had 20 points and eight rebounds as Iran out-rebounded Jordan 46-27.
They'll face Chinese Taipei in the semifinals on Saturday.
The Philippines continued to prove their mettle on Friday. The host team smashed Kazakhstan 88-58 in the third quarterfinal game on the schedule.
The Philippines outscored their overmatched opponents 37-18 to stretch a 10-point halftime lead to a 30-point beatdown. Gary David led the way with 22 points. As has been the case throughout the tournament, Kazakhstan struggled to shoot the ball. They made just 30 percent of their shots from the field.
In the final quarterfinal game, Korea proved that Qatar was more pretender than contender. The Koreans rode a 16-point performance from Sungmin Cho en route to a 79-52 win. Tournament leading scorer, Jarvis Hayes was held to just 10 points and Qatar shot just 29 percent from the field as a team.
Korea will now face the Philippines in the semifinals.
Scores for Aug. 10 (via FIBA.com)
Iran defeated Chinese Taipei, 79-60.
Philippines defeated Korea, 86-79.
Japan defeated Hong Kong, 79-50. (9th Place Final)
India defeated Bahrain, 75-65. (11th Place Final)
China defeated Jordan, 79-76. (5th Place Semifinal)
Qatar defeated Kazakhstan, 72-67. (5th Place Semifinal)
In the first semifinal, Chinese Taipei got off to a tremendous start. It rushed out to a nine-point lead after the opening quarter to put an undefeated Iran squad on the ropes.
The team's offense went dormant in the next two quarters, however, and Iran took full advantage. It outscored Chinese Taipei 46-16 in the second and third quarters, instantly eliminating any type of momentum and confidence its opponent had built up early.
Taipei bounced back in the fourth quarter, but it was too late. Iran was already on cruise control en route to the final.
Mehdi Kamrany led the charge for Iran with 19 points, six assists and six assists. Hamed Haddadi was a force down low with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Oshin Sahakian also added 13 points.
Quincy Davis III and Chen Shih-Chieh were the only players to score in double figures for Taipei, which moves to the third-place game.
In the other semifinal, the Philippines overcame 27 points from Mingoo Kim and a halftime deficit to earn their spot alongside Iran in the final.
The Philippines lit up the scoreboard with 29 points in the third quarter to change the course of the game, which was trending in Korea's direction. Just like in the first semifinal, the team that came out quick didn't end up with the victory.
Jayson William scored 17 and Jean Marc Pingris added 16 to pace the balanced Philippines' offense. Pingris also grabbed 10 rebounds to record a double-double. Jim Alapag and Ranidel de Ocampo also scored in double digits for the finalists.
Along with Kim, Korea had four other players with at least 10 points, but it wasn't enough. It will take on Taipei for third place.
Elsewhere, four teams locked in their final positions, including Japan and India, with ninth and 11th places respectively. China and Qatar won to reach the final for fifth place.
Scores for Aug. 10 (via FIBA.com)
Iran defeated Philippines, 85-71.
Iran captured the gold medal at the 2013 FIBA Asia Championships on Sunday, bringing to end one of the most epic editions of the prestigious event in history.
Tournament MVP and Iranian center Hamed Hadadi led the way with 29 points and 16 rebounds, while Samad Nikkah Bahrami contributed 19 points and seven assists from his swingman position for the winning side.
SMART Gilas Pilipinas put up a valiant effort in the first half—going into the locker room down a point—but were not able to get the three-pointers to fall consistently enough to pull off the upset.
Jayson Castro William was the best player on the Filipino side, piling in 18 points and three assists from his point guard position. Jim Alapag, the team’s other main guard, was the only other player to score in double-digits with 13 points.
Gilas shot just 10-34 from beyond the arc and hit on 22-69 of their total shots, while Iran knocked down just 3-17 from deep but dominated the paint and went 27-44 from the field.
Hadadi proved to be the game-changer, as the former NBA player used his 7’2” frame to impose his will on the smaller opponent and completely impact the outcome.
This was Iran's third victory since 2007, while the Philippines recorded their best finish as the FIBA Asia Championships since winning it all in 1985.