The 2013 FIBA Asia Championship is entering the second round, and it's worth monitoring the action as it progresses with three spots still to fill for the association's impending World Cup next year.
Three of the lowest finishers from four groups in the opening round have been relegated to consolation games, leaving 12 teams remaining in the tournament to vie for the three coveted World Cup slots.
The most dominant nation thus far has been Iran. In three contests of Group C play, the squad led by former NBA player Hamed Haddadi outscored opponents by a combined 120 points. While Iran is a favorite to get to the World Cup stage, the caliber of competition and intensity will only be enhanced at this juncture.
Below is an overview of the schedule for Round 2, including a breakdown of the undefeated teams from the early action in the Philippines.
Group E Schedule
|Date||Time (Local)||Time (ET)||Game|
|Monday, Aug. 5||10:30 a.m.||9:30 p.m. (Sunday)||Qatar vs. Jordan|
|Monday, Aug. 5||3 p.m.||2 a.m.||Chinese Taipei vs. Hong Kong|
|Monday, Aug. 5||8:30 p.m.||7:30 a.m.||Philippines vs. Japan|
|Tuesday, Aug. 6||10:30 a.m.||9:30 p.m. (Monday)||Jordan vs. Hong Kong|
|Tuesday, Aug. 6||3 p.m.||2 a.m.||Japan vs. Chinese Taipei|
|Tuesday, Aug. 6||8:30 p.m.||7:30 a.m.||Philippines vs. Qatar|
|Wednesday, Aug. 7||10:30 a.m.||9:30 p.m. (Tuesday)||Japan vs. Jordan|
|Wednesday, Aug. 7||3 p.m.||2 a.m.||Chinese Taipei vs. Qatar|
|Wednesday, Aug. 7||8:30 p.m.||7:30 a.m.||Hong Kong vs. Philippines|
Group F Schedule
|Date||Time (Local)||Time (ET)||Game|
|Monday, Aug. 5||12:45 p.m.||11:45 p.m. (Sunday)||Iran vs. India|
|Monday, Aug. 5||5:45 p.m.||4:45 a.m.||Kazakhstan vs. China|
|Monday, Aug. 5||10:30 p.m.||9:30 a.m.||Korea vs. Bahrain|
|Tuesday, Aug. 6||12:45 p.m.||11:45 p.m. (Monday)||Bahrain vs. Iran|
|Tuesday, Aug. 6||5:45 p.m.||4:45 a.m.||China vs. India|
|Tuesday, Aug. 6||10:30 p.m.||9:30 a.m.||Kazakhstan vs. Korea|
|Wednesday, Aug. 7||12:45 p.m.||11:45 p.m. (Tuesday)||Iran vs. Kazakhstan|
|Wednesday, Aug. 7||5:45 p.m.||4:45 a.m.||Bahrain vs. China|
|Wednesday, Aug. 7||10:30 p.m.||9:30 a.m.||India vs. Korea|
*Schedule and other tournament information was obtained via FIBA.com.
When: Monday, August 5 to Wednesday, August 7
Where: Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay and Ninoy Aquino Stadium in Manila (Philippines)
Analysis of Top Teams
Group E: Chinese Taipei and Qatar
Shooting guard Lin Chih-Chieh has been the leader for the undefeated Chinese Taipei squad, putting up just under 18 points per contest.
The sharpshooter has two scoring titles and one MVP award in Taiwan's Super Basketball League on his resume, and he's justifying those accolades by playing at a high level in this international competition.
Chinese Taipei narrowly defeated Jordan 91-87 in the opening contest but has since rattled off a convincing win over Saudi Arabia and beat out the hosting Philippines 84-79 to maintain a perfect record entering the second round.
Meanwhile, Qatar's efforts to get to the World Cup have been keyed by Jarvis Hayes, a former NBA veteran and the 2003 draft's No. 10 overall pick made by the Washington Wizards.
Hayes has put up 22.5 points per game in two prior contests, including 20 in a thrilling one-point victory over Japan in the first game in Group B.
These two teams will battle on Wednesday in Mall of Asia arena in what will likely be a critical showdown to determine where they will end up in the eight-team, single-elimination final round.
Group F: Iran and Kazakhstan
As hinted at before, the towering 7'2" Haddadi has been absolutely dominant, showcasing his skills in the paint in averaging 22 points and nine rebounds through three games.
According to the Tehran Times, the New York Knicks have taken notice of Haddadi's play and are interested in acquiring him, so his return to the NBA may be imminent. Based on his performance in the Philippines thus far, there isn't much to indicate that he doesn't belong.
The above report also notes how Haddadi is a previous two-time MVP in the FIBA Asia tournament. Based on Haddadi's current numbers, he could be on his way to a third award.
As for Kazakhstan, the Group D winners had to sweat out a 79-76 overtime victory over Bahrain in the second of three contests. The team has its own impressive frontcourt player in Mikhail Yevstigneyev, who has put up an average of 18.5 points and seven rebounds in the tournament.
Guard Jerri Johnson and swingman Rustam Yargaliyev serve as nice complements to Yevstigneyev on the perimeter, and it will take a total team effort for Kazakhstan to keep their World Cup hopes alive.
Iran and Kazakhstan will square off in their respective final Round 2 games, but the Kazakhs face difficult matchups preceding that affair against China and Korea, respectively, both of whom sport 2-1 records.