The preliminary rounds of the FIBA Asia Championships are now over. After three days of action only four teams remain undefeated and they are Iran, Taiwan, Kazakhstan and Qatar. While Iran and Kazakhstan were expected to fare well, Taiwan has emerged as a dark horse bet to win the tournament after their thrilling upset win over the tournament hosts, the Philippines.
The Taiwanese were simply on fire and could not miss from downtown. They made 15 of their 30 attempts from beyond the arc. That, coupled with solid rebounding from their big men, sealed their come from behind win over the Philippines 84:79. The game was at a deadlock as late as 2:43 remaining in the contest.
The teams with the lowest records from each group are now eliminated from the competition. Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong and Thailand are now out of contention. Group B had only three teams due to the early disqualification of Lebanon from the event, so all three teams will advance to the next round.
This is how things look at this stage of the tournament.
The remaining teams from groups A and B have now joined together to form “Group E,” while groups C and D have been merged to form “Group F.”
China’s two early losses, from Korea and Iran, can be attributed to their injury woes. They came into the tournament missing a few key players. They also missed the services of their star big man Yi Jianlian (212 cm), who was rested. He had complained that the Chinese National team had a very grueling preparation process for the tournament and it may have taken it’s toll on its players. With the win-loss records of the preliminary round carrying over, China will be in for an uphill battle.
The second round will be played over three more days and will continue on Monday, August 5.