The FIBA Asia Championships turned out as expected Sunday with Iran ruling supreme and qualifying for the 2014 FIBA World Cup after defeating the Philippines, 85-71.
Iran is not the only team moving on to the World Cup, as both the Philippines and Korea managed to land qualifying bids as well.
Iran's Hamed Haddadi was of course the star of the show. He's been receiving plenty of attention from the NBA (which we'll get to later) and for good reason—his presence alone changed the outcome of the FIBA Asia Championships.
There were plenty of dominant performances to go along with Haddadi's on Sunday. Here's a breakdown of the ones to know.
Mahmoud Abdeen Puts Jordan on His Back
Entering Jordan's contest with Kazakhstan, Abdeen's highest point output had been 13 against Hong Kong on Aug. 6, which made sense considering he received 24 minutes.
Abdeen did not play close to the 24-minute mark against Kazakhstan. He was only asked to play 15 minutes, but he made the most of the opportunity and scored a personal tournament-high 20 points.
Jordan would go on to win 88-59 behind Abdeen's 7-of-8 shooting effort. As a result, Jordan wound up finishing No. 7 in the tournament.
Jayson Castro William Shines in Defeat
William and Gilas may have been defeated at the hands of the unstoppable force that is Haddadi and Iran, but William had a game to remember nonetheless as he continues to etch out his own legacy on the international courts.
William managed to knock down 5-of-13 for 19 points, best on the team in the defeat. It was also a tournament high for William, although he would probably like to forget about his three turnovers—also a tournament high.
Gilas asked William to carry the team in its matchup against Iran. His 28 minutes on the court were only second to his 29 against Chinese Taipei earlier in the tournament.
While he was unable to do it all on his own, William is a budding star.
Hamed Haddadi Takes Home MVP
No player was more dominant throughout the course of the tournament than Haddadi. He scored 29 points to go with 16 rebounds—a tournament high—to help lead Iran to the championship.
Fellow big man Amir Sedigh posted the perfect picture to encapsulate the domination:
Haddadi has led Iran to Spain for the World Cup, and thanks to his stellar performance throughout the qualifying rounds was named MVP, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando:
Haddadi's dominance in the tournament is being felt on a global scale. The NBA's New York Knicks had scouts there to watch him, as reported by Francis T.J. Ochoa of the Philippine Daily Inquirer:
“Actually, I’m here to evaluate all the players in the tournament,” said 45-year-old Gary Boyson, who has 16 years experience working as a scout for the NBA. “It’s no secret there are players here with NBA experience who have no contracts yet. We have a spot or two probably.”
It's easy to forget Haddadi has seen action in the NBA in the past with the Memphis Grizzlies and Phoenix Suns. He was merely a role player, but Haddadi may be looking at another opportunity in the league now.
Haddadi has the attention of the world now that he scored double-digit point totals in eight of Iran's nine contests while also acting as a physical force below the rim. He forced most teams to rely (and fail) on jump shots only.
While we are a long way off from potentially seeing Haddadi back in the NBA, he can rest easy for now and bask in the fact he is a national hero after his performance in the FIBA championships.
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