FIBA Asia 2015, Quarterfinal preview

FIBA Asia 2015We are entering the Quarterfinal stage of the FIBA Asia 2015 tournament, with eight nations set to compete against each other on Thursday.

Reigning champions Iran will face a test against South Korea, while tournament hosts China will be on course to stay unbeaten with a win against India. Also competing in the last eight are Qatar playing Japan and the Philippines against Lebanon in two evenly matched contests.

Qatar vs. Japan
Qatar and Japan enter their Last Eight showdown fairly evenly matched, although Qatar will assume position as favourties. Japan however will still be able to spring a game winning performance here, although expect a contest like the last time these nations met. That was during FIBA Asia 2013 when Qatar left it late to win 75-74. Japan will be looking to their spearheading duo, Joji Takeuchi and Makoto Hiejima, to continue their solid play, while Qatar’s Trey Johnson will be expected to bring his quality to the hardwood once more. The NBA player is leading Qatar in points and is also the chief game maker for the team.

Iran vs. South Korea
Reigning champions Iran are on course to defend their crown at FIBA Asia 2015 and win their fourth title in the last five editions of the tournament. However, while the Iranians have looked serene, the Philippines showed that the champs can be taken out with victory on Monday. Korea will look to exploit those weaknesses, but the team will have to click like it did in the opening three games, in those contests the Koreans were tricky in offence and hot through the buckets. However, Korea tailed off in recent contests and against Iran could be found out if there is no improvement. As for Iran, the team is combining for a roster wide effort, although big four of Hamed Haddadi, Oshin Sahakian, Samad Nikkhah Bahrami and Mahdi Kamrani remain the key players.

China vs. India
China enters the last eight as the only undefeated team left and from here the hosts either go out or keep their unblemished record right to the gold medal. The home team is hot favourite against an Indian team that has blown hot and cold over the last two weeks. Perhaps the Indians can go hot again, but China has been a model of efficiency, looking solid and steady in defence and in attack. China has been adept at using its big men (four players over 210 cm) to open space for attacking plays in key areas, especially allowing guard Guo Ailun the room around the perimeter to pull the strings. Amjyot Singh has been impressive for India and has driven all of the wins the country has enjoyed at FIBA Asia 2015. Singh will have to put in another shift if the nation from the sub-continent is to have a chance here… expect China to stick close to him.

Philippines vs. Lebanon
Lebanon has arguably had the patchiest passage to this stage, but the country has also probably had the hardest path to navigate. The Philippines on the other hand have gone from the low of a loss to Palestine on day 1 to a massive win against Iran 5 days later. The Filipino contingent is riding high off that win and could have the momentum to go all the way now, especially knowing it has the chops to down the champs. Lebanon will have it all to do as the country is reeling after star forward Ahmad Ibrahim is out with an injury.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login