Iran defeated the Philippines, 85-71, to capture the gold medal at the 2013 FIBA Asia Championships on Sunday.
Led by tournament MVP Hamed Haddadi, the Iranian national team finished with an undefeated record and won its second major international event in the past month—with the squad also capturing the 2013 William Jones Cup in July.
Center Haddadi piled in 29 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, while swingman Samad Nikkhah Bahrami contributed 19 points and seven assists.
Point guard Mahdi Kamrany added 15 points, seven boards and five dimes in a game that was decided in the second half.
It was a back-and-forth affair during the first two quarters, with Iran taking a 35-34 lead into the locker room. However, the Philippine side simply couldn’t keep pace in the final 20 minutes.
Smart Gilas was ultimately done by its inability to connect on open looks, with the team going just 22-69 from the field.
In order to combat Haddadi’s immense 7’2” frame and world-class ability to protect the rim, the Filipinos took nearly half of their shots from beyond the arc and only connected on 10-of-34.
Jayson Castro William was one of the bright spots for Gilas, as the guard scored 18 points on 5-of-13 shooting. Guard Jim Alapag also reached double-digit scoring, adding 13 points and three assists in the losing effort.
Despite the loss, Gilas should be happy to finish with silver. Second-place represents its best outing in this prestigious event in almost 30 years, and the team already secured a spot in next year’s Basketball World Cup with a win in the semifinals.
This concludes an epic tournament that was full of surprise, intrigue and great basketball.
Iran lived up to its billing as the favorite and became winners for the third time in the past six years. The country won the biannual event back in 2007 and 2009 and return to the top of the FIBA Asia class with this impressive victory.