#FIBAU18Asia 2018 Final Day Recap: Australia claim first U18 Asia title!

The Australians trampled over all opponents at the 2018 FIBA U18 Asian Championship.

Australia cruised to their sixth win of the 2018 FIBA U18 Asia Championship at New Zealand's expense and claimed their first U18 Asia title. They were joined by the Junior Tall Blacks and the Chinese on the podium here in Nonthaburi, Thailand

BAHRAIN over KOREA, 100-93

Bahrain compounded Korea's frustrations on the final day of competition here in Nonthaburi, Thailand by handing them their third loss in a row. It was a see-saw battle from the tip that saw 23 lead changes, but the Bahrainis's 20-9 finishing kick in the last six minutes sealed the deal in their favor. Mustafa Rashed exploded with 33 points to lead Bahrain, and he was backstopped by 15 points from Ali Kadhem and 11 from Rashed Awadh. Yeo JunSeok paced the Koreans with 23. 

Kim HyungBin and the Korean's ended their tournament on a whimper.

Mustafa Rashed erupted for 33 big points for Bahrain.

Rashed Awadh rises and rocks the rim on the final day.

JAPAN over IRAN, 60-58

Japan ended their tournament on a strong note, surviving a bigger Iran side to finish in fifth place. The Iranians had the edge in rebounding and inside scoring here, but Japan compensated by forcing 21 Iran turnovers. The backcourt trio of Yuki Kawamura, Takuto Nakamura, and Shuko Nakata worked wonders in this match, combining for 41 points and 7 steals even shooter Keisei Tominaga struggled with only 8 markers. Iran finish in sixth spot and were paced by Mohammad Taghilou and Amirhossein Rezaeifar, who had 10 points each.

Iran ended their tournament losing 2 of their last 3 games.

Shuki Nakata orchestrated the offense well for the Japanese.

Takuto Nakamura stepped up as Japan ended their campaign on a bright note.


The Filipinos scored the first two baskets of this game, but that was pretty much the only thing they had going in the first quarter, which was thoroughly dominated by a vengeful Chinese squad. Thanks to the hot shooting of big man Michael Wang, China opened up an early double-digit lead, and they never looked back as they cruised to a sweet payback win over the Filipinos, who beat them on Day 3. Wang led the way with 27 points, 14 rebounds, and 4 triples, while Xu Jie outplayed the Filipino guards with 18 points, 5 boards, and 7 dimes. Kai Sotto and AJ Edu combined for 30 points and 16 rebounds to carry the Philippines' losing cause. The Filipinos finish in 4th place -- the highest finish of any Philippine U18 team since 1992.

Michael Wang and AJ Edu were two of the best players in the entire competition.

Dave Ildefonso just couldn't find his shot on the final day.

Kai Sotto and the Filipinos finish 4th at the Asian youth level for the 2nd time this year.

Xu Jie outplayed all his Filipino counterparts in this "revenge game."


Australia's strong start was all they needed to stave off a spirited challenge from neighbors New Zealand and pocket their first U18 Asia crown. No one Emu dominated the proceedings, but all-around efficiency and consistency shone through once again for the Aussies, who led by as many as 19 points in the title-clinching win. Sam Froling continued to his brilliance with 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 blocks, while Kody Stattmann added 17 points. Kyle Bowen also impressed with a 13-point, 10-rebound double-double, while the Kiwis leaned on the 20 points of athletic forward Maxwell Darling. Flynn Cameron and Kruz Perrott-Hunt each tallied 16 markers as the Junior Tall Blacks bring home the silver medal from their maiden U18 Asia appearance.

Maxwell Darling was one of New Zealand's most promising prospects here.

Sam Froling was consistently brilliant for the Emus.

Tamuri Wigness tries to split the defense in the championship game.

Day 6's Best Players:
Michael Wang (CHN) - 27pts, 14rebs, 4asts, 2stls, 4 triples
Mustafa Rashed (BRN) - 33pts, 3asts, 7 triples
Maxwell Darling (NZL) - 20pts, 8rebs
Xu Jie (CHN) - 18pts, 5rebs, 7asts
Lee HyunJung (KOR) - 19pts, 12rebs, 7asts, 2stls

Most Efficient Players:
Lee HyunJung (KOR) - 26.0ppg, 10.3rpg, 6.0apg, 3.3spg, 3.7 triples per game.
Michael Wang (CHN) - 20.0ppg, 13.0rpg, 3.6apg, 1.3spg, 1.4 triples per game.
Sam Froling (AUS) - 14.2ppg, 9.0rpg, 2.0bpg, 65.4 FG%.
Kyle Bowen (AUS) - 13.0ppg, 10.2rpg, 70.4 FG%.
Guo Haowen (CHN) - 18.7ppg, 6.3rpg, 5.4apg, 1.3spg, 1.4 triples per game.

Images from FIBA.basketball.




#FIBAU18Asia 2018 Day 6 Recap: New Zealand and Australia to dispute the championship!

Kai Sotto and Batang Gilas bit off more than they could chew against Australia.

New Zealand and Australia will have a rematch in the Final of the 2018 FIBA U18 Asia Championship in Nonthaburi, Thailand after they disposed of China and the Philippines respectively on Day 6's Semi-Final matches.

IRAN over KOREA, 89-81

Korea continued to reel from yesterday's loss to China, and their body language showed it today as they absorbed their second defeat in a row, this time against Iran. The Iranians had a strong start to the game, leading by double-figures after the first period, and though the game wavered back and forth, it was U18 Team Melli that proved tougher in the last stretch. Amirhossein Rezaeifar dropped 27 points, 15 rebounds, and 4 blocked shots to lead the Iranians, while Lee HyunJung flirted with a triple-double line -- 24 points, 9 boards, 9 dimes, and 6 steals -- to pace Korea.

Amirhossein Rezaeifar slams one home for Iran.

Cha MinSeok and the Koreans continue their descent.

Mohammad Taghilou rises for a jumper against Korea.

JAPAN over BAHRAIN, 92-85 (OT)

Japan trailed by as many as 16 points in the second half, but they put on quite a show from the fourth quarter and into the overtime. Keisei Tominaga, Yuki Kawamura, and Keijiro Mitani were the ones who conspired in Japan's amazing comeback effort, and it bore fruit as they will have a rematch against Iran for fifth place. Tominaga led the way with 33 points, 3 steals, and 5 triples, while Kawamura and Mitani added 17 and 22 points respectively. Mustafa Rashed had 29 points for Bahrain even as Karim Aboukuora had 17 points and 11 boards.

Keisei Tominaga was on fire as Japan made their comeback.

Muzamil Hamoda rues their foiled chance to beat the Japanese.

Seishin Yokochi goes up strong against Bahrain.


In what was a pretty tight game through and through, it was the Junior Tall Blacks who survived and advance to the Final. Despite getting 0 points from their second unit, the Kiwis still prevailed mainly due to terrific playmaking and more efficient outside shooting. Flynn Cameron recorded a sublime triple-double to carry New Zealand -- 19 points, 12 assists, and 10 rebounds -- while Maxwell Darling erupted for 24 points. Kruz Perrott-Hunt also impressed with 21 markers and 8 boards. As for China, Guo Hawen and Michael Wang paired up for 47 points.

Flynn Cameron's triple-double was absolutely scintillating.

Guo Haowen triies to drive through very heavy traffic.

Maxwell Darling elevates and detonates for New Zealand.


This highly anticipated battle of unbeaten teams turned out to be a lopsided affair. The Aussies and Filipinos were toe-to-toe in the first period, but the Emus broke the game open in the second quarter thanks to their full-court pressure defense that forced Batang Gilas into numerous turnovers. By game's end, Australia had 14 steals and 10 points off the Filipinos' errors. From then on, the Emus were unchallenged as they marched their way into the Final, leading by as many as 41 points. Nearly every Australian player scored here, with Sam Froling's 12 points leading the way. On the other end, nobody scored more than 9 points for the Philippines.

AJ Edu and the Filipinos see their undefeated run come to an end.

Jashua Gatbel and the Aussies proved to be too much against the Philippines.

Tyler Robertson attacks the interior as the Emus move on to the Final.

Day 5's Best Players:
Amirhossein Rezaeifar (IRI) - 27pts, 15rebs, 4blks - 37
Lee HyunJung (KOR) - 24pts, 9rebs, 9asts, 6stls - 34
Flynn Cameron (NZL) - 19pts, 12asts, 10rebs, 2stls - 30
Keisei Tominaga (JPN) - 33pts, 5rebs, 3stls, 5 triples - 29
Maxwell Darling (NZL) - 24pts, 7rebs, 3blks - 28

Final Day Pairings:
For 3rd Place - China v Philippines
For 1st Place - New Zealand v Australia

Images from FIBA.basketball.




#FIBAU18Asia 2018 Day 5 Recap: New Zealand, Philippines, Australia, and China qualify to U19 World Cup!

The Filipinos survived a very game Bahrain to move on to the Semi-Finals and the U19 World Cup.

Only four remain standing at the end of Day 5 at the 2018 FIBA U18 Asia Championship in Nonthaburi, Thailand, and these same four teams -- New Zealand, Philippines, Australia, and China -- will rep FIBA Asia at the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup.

NEW ZEALAND over IRAN, 87-72

All game long, Iran had trouble with New Zealand's size and heft, and in the end, that was Team Melli's undoing. In their effort to try and contain the Kiwi frontline, Iran committed 27 fouls and gifted the Junior Tall Blacks with 35 free throw attempts. The Kiwis swished 25 of their freebies, and it proved to be a critical difference-maker. James Moors scored 26 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead New Zealand, while Flynn Cameron added 15 points and 8 assists. On the other end, Iran suffered their first defeat of the competition and have been booted from World Cup contention. Behshad Arabzadeh paced the Iranians with 19 points. 

Flynn Cameron was his usual splendid self for New Zealand.

Iran bows out after absorbing their first defeat of the competition.

Kruz Perrot-Hunt helped carry the Junior Tall Blacks into the U19 World Cup.


They had to endure some scary moments, but the Philippines eventually got the job done and prevailed to book its seat at the 2019 FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup. Bahrain's speed and physicality gave the Filipinos a tough time, especially in the first half, but the SEABA champs righted the ship in the last two periods to turn an 8-point half-time deficit into a double-digit margin by game's end. AJ Edu was all over the place again with 16 points, 17 rebounds, and 2 blocks, while forntcourt partner Kai Sotto added 21 points, 10 boards, and 3 rejections. Reserve guard Miguel Oczon also provided steady minutes with 10 points and 2 triples. Bahrain relied on Baqer Ali and Rashed Awadh in this game, both of whom combined for 26 points.

AJ Edu's star continued to shine brightly for Batang Gilas.

Kai Sotto had his finest performance of the tournament today.

Karim Aboukuora and the Bahrainis gave the Filipinos a scare in this match.


Australia remained unbeaten after thumping Japan in the Quarter-Finals and punching its own ticket to the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup.The Emus showcased elite rebounding and playmaking in their mastery of the Japanese, who groped for form against the bigger and more skilled Aussies. Kyle Bowen was Australia's top performer with 22 points and 13 rebounds, while Sam Froling put up 12 points, 11 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Keisei Tominaga had 16 points to lead Japan.

Nobody could stop Sam Froling in the Quarter-Finals.

Keisei Tominaga and the Japanese fell way short of their target.

Tyler Robertson and the Emus are on their way to their first U18 Asia Semi-Finals.

CHINA over KOREA, 90-85

Day 5 saved the best for last. East Asia rivals Korea and China went at it head-on, and it was treat for Asian hoop nuts everywhere. They battled through 7 lead changes throughout the contest, with the Chinese ultimately proving steadier in crunch time. China utilized their size advantage to the hilt, outrebounding Korea, 59-36, and outscoring them in the paint, 44-38. The Koreans tried to compensate with pesky defense that forced 19 Chinese turnovers, but they fell short of the Semi-Finals and the FIBA U19 World Cup. Lee HyunJung's 33 points went down the drain for Korea, which lost its first game of the tournament. China's Guo Haowen matched Lee's offense with 33 points of his own, while Michael Wang was dominant with a monster stat-line of 20 points, 23 rebounds, and 6 assists. 

Guo Haowen was relentless in attacking the basket against Korea.

Lee HyunJung tried his darnedest to tow Korea into the next round.

Michael Wang and the Chinese have a lot of momentum heading into the Semis.

Day 4's Best Players:
AJ Edu (PHI) - 16pts, 17rebs, 3asts, 2stls 2blks
Lee HyunJung (KOR) - 33pts, 10rebs, 6asts, 4stls 
Kyle Bowen (AUS) - 22pts, 13rebs, 11/12 FGs
Guo Haowen (CHN) - 33pts, 8rebs, 4asts, 2stls
James Moors (NZL) - 26pts, 14rebs

Semi-Finals Pairings:
New Zealand v China, winner advances to Final
Philippines v Australia, winner advances to Final

Images from FIBA.basketball.




#FIBAU18Asia 2018 Day 4 Recap: China, Japan, New Zealand, and Bahrain complete QFs cast!

Bahrain caught a HUGE fish on Day 4!

The Quarter-Finals was completed yesterday with most of the favorites advancing, but a huge surprise was in the offing late on Day 3 at the 2018 FIBA U18 Asia Championship in Nonthaburi, Thailand as Bahrain pulled off a shocking win over perennial contender Chinese Taipei!

CHINA over INDONESIA, 102-45

China was quick to make up for its Day 3 loss to the Philippines and vented its ire on hapless Indonesia, 102-45. The Indons were coming off a rousing Day 3 win over Kazakhstan, but they found themselves overmatched against a bigger, deeper, and certainly more motivated Chinese quintet, which led from the get-go. Michael Wang shone for China anew with 15 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals, while Guo Haowen added 11 points, 7 boards, and 13 dimes. Yesaya Alessandro Michael and Aldy Rachman paired up for 23 points as Indonesia got the boot.

Guo Haowen stuffed the stat-sheet against Indonesia.

Michael Wang was unstoppable on Day 4.

Yesaya Michael and the Indons bowed out of contention.

JAPAN over LEBANON, 85-67

Japan had a slow start in this game against an energetic Lebanese unit, but the East Asian contenders turned up the jets in the second quarter to snatch the lead and never looked back. Smaller Japan was outrebounded by the bigger Lebanese, 46-32, but the former compensated with better playmaking (22-11 assists) and outside shooting (9 three-pointers for Japan). Sniper extraordinaire Keisei Tominaga led the way with 28 points on 9-of-17 FG shooting, while Hiroki Matsuzaki stepped up big time with 17 markers. Alex Zanbaka paced the U18 Cedars with 21 points.

Hiroki Matsuzaki was a strong inside presence for Japan.

Keisei Tominaga continued his hot streak!

Marc Khoueiry and Yousef Khayat console each other after getting eliminated.

NEW ZEALAND over INDIA, 109-76

This game was close in the first half, but the Junior Tall Blacks flipped a switch in the third quarter to break the match open and cruised to their third win in four games. New Zealand outrebounded the bigger Indians, 69-40, to underscore their dominance in this encounter. Oscar Oswald had his breakout game here, tallying 17 points and 8 rebounds, while Rajveer Bhati had 14 points for India. James Moors was also solid for the Kiwis with a 20-point, 10-rebound double-double.

Arvind Krishnan splits the New Zealand defense.

Maxwell Darling collars the rebound with authority.

Oscar Oswald caught fire for the Junior Tall Blacks.


It certainly looked as if Chinese Taipei had this game wrapped up after their outscored Bahrain, 23-9, in the second quarter, but the GBA 2nd placers made great defensive adjustments in the third period that held the Taiwanese to a paltry 3 points. That resulted in a 13-point bulge for Bahrain heading into the final frame, and they successfully kept Chinese Taipei at bay till the final buzzer. Baqer Ali and Mustafa Rashed exploded for a combined 46 points to lead Bahrain in only their second win of the competition, while Muzamil Hamoda added 14 points and 13 rebounds of his own. It was a disastrous end to the tournament for Taiwan, who were hoping to make it to today's Quarter-Finals against the Philippines. They were led by 19 points from Lin Yan-Ting.

Baqer Ali zipped and zapped against the Taiwanese.

Lin Yan-Ting could not rally Taiwan in the fourth period.

Muzamil Hamoda stepped up big time for Bahrain.

Day 4's Best Players:
Michael Wang (CHN) - 15pts, 17rebs, 7asts
Guo Haowen (CHN) - 11pts, 7rebs, 13asts
Oscar Oswald (NZL) _ 17pts, 8rebs, 2asts 
James Moors (NZL) - 20pts, 10rebs, 2stls 
Keisei Tominaga (JPN) - 28pts, 2stls, 4 triples

Quarter-Finals Pairings:
Iran v New Zealand, winner advances to SF 1
Philippines v Bahrain, winner advances to SF 2
Australia v Japan, winner advances to SF 2
Korea v China, winner advances to SF 1

Images from FIBA.basketball.