Day 4 of the FIBA Asia Cup 2017 in Lebanon saw the completion of Round 2 of the Group Phase. On Friday evening, Group A and Group B nations took to the hardwood as they continued to jostle for positions in the standing. By the end of the action, Iran, Jordan, Philippines, and China were celebrating victories.
It was a day when three of the tournament favourites (China, Iran, and Philippines) played. On this evidence, it is hard to pick a clear favourite. China is the reigning champ and 16-time record winner of the FIBA Asia Cup, and looked good hear. Iran finished third last time, but won the 2013 total. The Iranians are firmly in the mix again. And then there is the Philippines, a country that finished runner up the last two times and will be desperate to go one better in 2017.
Iran was too strong for Syria, claiming a 63-87 victory. The former champs drained an impressive 52 points in the first half before controlling the second half in an easy win. Iran claimed 47 rebounds to Syria’s 32, and handed a massive 29 assists in an unselfish attacking effort. That offence was led by Mohammed Jamshidi with 23 points and 9 scoring passes.
Jordan joined Iran at the top with a 2-0 record by downing India 54-61 on Day 4. In a low scoring contest, neither team troubled the nets regularly. Especially in the first half, which ended 23-26 in favour of Jordan. The buckets picked up slightly in the second half, but India could never score consistently enough to get back into the game, allowing Jordan to extend through the third act.
The Philippines maintained its grip on Group B with a casual 84-68 win over Iraq. After previously beating champs China, the team is in confident mood and remains unbeaten. Iraq actually led 17-19 through ten minutes before 2015’s silver medal winners took a 32-31 halftime lead. With the momentum, the Philippines took the third act 28-9 and never looked back.
China recovered from its first round loss with an important 67-92 win over Qatar. The pressure was on the champs here as a loss would have made qualification difficult. As it was, Qatar was easy fodder and China was already up 44-36 through the long break. Ailun Guo was hot at the bucket with 30 winning points for the Chinese.