Lebanon and Australia won their semi-final games and will meet in the Final of the FIBA Asia Cup 2022.
Australia was the first to qualify for the Asia Cup 2022 Final by beating New Zealand 85-76. At the same time, Lebanon won a game for the ages against Jordan 86-85.
Australia had a strong first half which allowed them to build up a head as big as 16 points before heading into the halftime break up 49-37. New Zealand responded with their strong play down low, especially from Sam Timmins, to get as close as 2 points late in the fourth quarter.
True to form, the defending Asia Cup champions remained composed and drilled back-to-back three-pointers with less than three minutes to go in the game to seal the deal.
Thon Maker made many key baskets for Australia in the second half, including a personal 7-2 run in the third quarter and the three-pointer in the last quarter when New Zealand closed the gap to only 2 points. Maker ended the game with 18 points and nine rebounds.
The guards were the top players for the Boomers in this Semi-Finals win, as Mitch McCarron and Will White combined for 28 points and 14 assists while not committing a single turnover.
New Zealand’s Flynn Cameron was able to log 15 points, seven rebounds, and four assists but was locked up all game by Australia’s defenders. The Tall Blacks got significant contributions from Jordan Hunt, who had his best game of the competition so far with 16 points on four three-pointers, and big man Sam Timmins who had 16 points and eight rebounds.
With the win, the Boomers are headed to a second consecutive Asia Cup Final. The 9-point loss by New Zealand is the closest any team has come to beating Australia in the Asia Cup.
In the other semi=final game between Lebanon and Jordan, everyone was on the edge of the seats throughout the entire 40 minutes of the game. The lead switched hands 12 times, with Lebanon leading for just under 20 minutes while Jordan controlled the lead for just under 16 minutes.
Both teams traded clutch moments down the stretch, but the massive block by Ali Haidar on Amin Abu Hawwas and a classic Arakji floater sealed the win for the Cedars.
Arakji had another monster game of 25 points, three rebounds, three assists, and three steals on 9-17 shooting. The Cedars also got bug games from Sergio El Darwich (18 points, eight rebounds, and clutch three-pointers) and Ali Haidar (10 points, eight rebounds, and one clutch block).
Jordan was shorthanded early on as Ahmad Aldwairi left the game due to an injury, but everyone else on the team picked up on the effort to force the best out of each team. Freddy Ibrahim took over in the third quarter to keep the game close and even give Jordan the lead, finishing the game with 17 points, five rebounds, and four assists. Amin Abu Hawwas also had his best game of the Asia Cup with 24 points on 50 percent shooting.
The win puts Lebanon in the Asia Cup Final for the first time since 2007, where they will get the chance to win their first ever Asia Cup.