The FIBA Asia quarterfinals match-ups are set. The results from the first two rounds of the tournament no longer matter. They were all about getting teams to this point and about determining which nations will be facing off in competition’s version of a post-season. There is no room for error. A loss in the quarterfinals would spell doom for any country unable to step up, as they will be knocked out of contention.
The top four teams from Groups E and F are advancing and will finally get the chance to encounter teams from “the other side” as matches are formed by the top seeds from each group facing the bottom seeds in each group and so on.
It comes as no surprise that Iran finished atop of the Group F standings, being the lone undefeated team in the competition (5-0). They are followed South Korea (4-1), who were beaten only by the tournament leaders, then by China (3-2) and finally Kazakhstan (2-3).
Group E was a more tightly contested affair with the top three teams each finishing with an identical 4-1 record. Jordan with its 2-3 record was able to slide into the quarterfinals via a do-or-die victory against Japan in the third day of the second round of the tournament, 65:55.
This is how the teams will be matched up for the quarterfinals.
August 9, 2013
15:00 Iran vs. Jordan
17:45 Taiwan vs. China
20:30 Philippines vs. Kazakhstan
22:30 South Korea vs. Qatar
Iran vs. Jordan – Both teams are very familiar with each other. Two-time FIBA Asia Most Valuable Player Hamed Haddadi (218 cm) is expected to lead his team to victory over their rivals. He has been dominant thus far and shows no signs of slowing down. Jordan will need to execute almost perfectly from the perimeter if they want to upset the tournament juggernauts.
Taiwan vs. China – China recently got reigning FIBA Asia MVP Yi Jianlian (212 cm) back in action when they defeated Bahrain in the final day of round two. Yi missed a few games due to a sore hamstring, but with everything on the line he will likely have to suck it up and assert his presence and challenge naturalized American-Taiwanese player Quincy Davis (206 cm, Tulane’06) in the paint. A key to Taiwan’s potential success will be the play of long-bomber Chih-Chieh Lin (192 cm) who has come through for his team in numerous clutch situations so far.
Philippines vs. Kazakhstan – Host nation Philippines tuned up for this competition through a friendly match with Kazakhstan which they won 92:89, but coach Chot Reyes is still concerned about Kazakhstan and plans to give them no quarter during their game. Naturalized Filipino-American Marcus Douthit (210 cm, Providence’04) banged knees with a Qatari player during their match-up a couple of days ago and his health will be a concern. The Philippine team played a sloppy game against Hong Kong on the last day of Round 2, but are expected to be on point in their must-win game tomorrow.
South Korea vs. Qatar – Yaseen Ismail Musa (204 cm) was fantastic in Qatar’s upset over Taiwan on the final day of Round 2. He owned the paint with an impressive double-double performance to the tune of 20 points and 19 rebounds. Qatar will need him, Daoud Mousa (193 cm) and former NBA swingman Jarvis Hayes (201 cm, Georgia’03) to bring their A-games if they expect to crack Korea’s combination of stifling defensive pressure and on-point long-range offense.