#FIBAASIACUP2017 PREVIEW - GILAS PILIPINAS vs JORDAN

Images from FIBA.basketball.
The Philippines have lost back-to-back games and are hoping to salvage seventh place, but can they do it against a physical Jordan side?

The Philippines began their campaign with so much promise, bringing down defending champions China before beating Iraq and Qatar in succession. They were seen as leading contenders for a podium finish in the competition, but their blowout loss to Korea in the Quarter-Finals permanently derailed them.  Jordan are on a similar boat, wining their first two assignments before losing two of their last three to fall into this classification encounter.

GILAS PILIPINAS roster
Terrence Romeo - 5'10 - G
Carl Cruz - 6'3 - F
Gabe Norwood - 6'5 - F
Jio Jalalon - 5'8 - G
Jayson Castro - 5'10 - G
Calvin Abueva - 6'2 - F
June Mar Fajardo - 6'10 - C
RR Pogoy - 6'0 - G
Raymond Almazan - 6'7 - C
Japeth Aguilar - 6'10 - F/C
Christian Standhardinger - 6'8 - F/C
Matthew Wright - 6'2 - G
Ave. Height - 6'3
Ave. Age - 28

JORDAN roster
Mahmoud Abdeen - 6'3 - G - 29 - Awdeh BC (former SMB Asian import)
Amin Abu Hawwas - 6'2 - G - 23 - Al Riyadi Aramex
Sami Bzai - 6'1 - G - 23 - Southeastern Oklahoma St. 
Ahmad Al Hamarsheh - 6'6 - F - 30 - Al Riyadi Aramex
Sinan Eid - 6'1 - G - 35 - Aydin BSB
Yousef Abu Wazaneh - 6'7 - F - 23 - Orthodox BC
Mohammad Hussein - 6'10 - C - 27 - Al Fateh
Ahmad Obeid - 6'6 - F - 26 - Al Riyadi Aramex
Malek Kanaan - 5'9 - G - 24 - Awdeh BC
Mousa Al Awadi - 6'2 - G - 32 - Al Riyadi Aramex
Ali Jamal Zaghab - 6'9 - F - 29 - Awdeh BC
Ave. Height - 6'4
Ave. Age - 26

Game Notes:
1) KRAKEN X HUSSEIN
- Guards have buoyed the fortunes of both teams in this tournament, but a key matchup to watch here will be between big men June Mar Fajardo of Gilas Pilipinas and Mohammad Shaher Hussein of Al Nashama. Fajardo is the three-time MVP of the PBA, and he had a solid outing in the Philippines' previous game despite losing badly to Lebanon. Hussein, meanwhile, has been a reliable slotman for Jordan throughout the competition and is a constant double-double threat. They're both around the same size and are exactly the same age, so this should be very interesting.

Fajardo last game: 13pts, 2rebs, 1blk, 4/9 FGs
Hussein last game: 18pts, 8rebs, 6/12 FGs


2) PHI: SHOOTING NEEDS TO CLICK
- Outside shooting will be critical here. Making threes was a key ingredient in Gilas Pilipinas's three wins, and they need to rediscover that here against an aggressive and big Jordan quintet. Jordan, for sure, will need to limit the Filipinos' potency from long distance, and that means finding a way to slow down guys like Terrence Romeo and Matthew Wright. 

PHI 3pt shooting stats: 
1st 3 games - 12.3 triples per game - 3 wins
Last 2 games - 10.0 triples per game - 2 losses


3) PHI: WRIGHT BACK AT IT
- For some strange reason, Gilas has not been going to Matthew Wright a lot in their last 2 games. Wright was their designated spot-up shooter in the first three games, but he has been given very few looks in their losses to KOR and LBN. For Gilas to have a shot at salvaging 7th spot, they need Wright to get his fair share of shots again.

1st 3 games: 7.0 3pt attempts per game, 3.7 triples per game.
Last 2 games: 2.5 3pt attempts per game, 1.0 triple per game.


4) PHI: WHERE'S THAT DEFENSE?
- Even in their wins against CHN, IRQ, and JOR, Gilas's defense has looked suspect at times, but their defensive flaws were really pushed to the fore in their losses to KOR and LBN. Sure, Gilas had the firepower to match any team, but it was their defense that was having trouble keeping up. Needless to say, if they want to avoid a third straight defeat, the D needs to be tight, especially in transition.

Pts given up:
1st 3 games: 76.3ppg
Last 2 games: 112.0ppg

Fastbreak Pts given up:
1st 3 games: 8.0ppg
Last 2 games: 23.0ppg


5) JOR: BACKCOURT BOMBER
- Former SMB Asian import Mahmoud Abdeen has been Jordan's best backcourt player in this tournament. He leads the team in scoring, assists, and three-point shooting, and he will surely figure prominently in today's match. Gilas needs to stop this guy or at least slow him down because so much of Jordan's production is a direct result of his actions. Abdeen is coming off a really bad outing against CHN, though, so he will probably be raring to bounce back big time here.

Stats: 15.0ppg, 2.2rpg, 6.2apg, 2.3 triples per game.
Last game (vs CHN) - 2pts, 1reb, 1ast, 1/8 FGs.


6) JOR: UNSUNG AHMAD
- JOR is full of unsung heroes who don't hog the headlines, and one of them is Ahmad Al Hamarsheh. The 6'6 forward does a lot of damage and makes a lot of plays for JOR, and he will be relied on once again here as the small forward spot has been a weakness for Gilas. If guys like Gabe Norwood and Calvin Abueva cannot bring their A-game, Al Hamarsheh may just have a big game.

Stats: 7.3ppg, 6.2rpg, 1.5apg, 2.2spg, 1.5 triples per game.
Last game (vs CHN) - 5pts, 3rebs, 1ast, 2stls, 1blk, 1 triple.


Jordan Top Players:
Mohammad Shaher Hussein - 12.0ppg, 9.0rpg, 1.7spg, 1.2bpg.
Mahmoud Abdeen - 15.0ppg, 2.2rpg, 6.2apg, 2.3 triples per game.
Ahmad Al Hamarsheh - 7.3ppg, 6.2rpg, 1.5apg, 2.2spg, 1.5 triples per game.
Yousef Abu Wazaneh - 4.0ppg, 4.7rpg, 1.3spg.
Amin Abu Hawwas - 9.2ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.7apg, 1.5spg, 1.2 triples per game.

Philippines Top Players:
Terrence Romeo - 18.8ppg, 1.2rpg, 3.2apg, 3.2 triples per game.
Matthew Wright - 12.6ppg, 2.2rpg, 2.6apg, 2.6 triples per game.
Jayson Castro - 8.8ppg, 3.4rpg, 5.2apg, 1.2 triples per game.
Gabe Norwood - 5.0ppg, 4.4rpg, 2.6apg, 1.6spg, 1.4bpg.
RR Pogoy - 8.0ppg, 3.6rpg, 1.2spg, 1.4 triples per game.

FOR MORE 2017 FIBA ASIA CUP COVERAGE, CHECK OUT THIS LINK

FOLLOW THE AUTHOR ON TWITTER: @hoopnut

LIKE OUR FAN PAGE ON FACEBOOK, TOO! 

#FIBAAsiaCup2017 Quarter-Finals Roundup

Images from FIBA.basketball.
There were heartbreaks and blowouts in the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup Quarter-Finals, with Iran, Korea, New Zealand, and Australia all prevailing. Check out all the recaps and highlights from FIBA.com below. 

IRAN over LEBANON, 80-70
Box Scores.

Iran will advance to play Korea in the FIBA Asia Cup Semi-Finals after an 80-70 victory over Lebanon in their Quarter-Final on Wednesday evening.

Hamed Haddadi had a monster 20-point, 20-rebound double double; the first 20-20 game of the tournament, Sajjad Mashayekhi had a number of key plays, and Mohammad Jamshidi had 24 points whilst only missing four shots to help Iran to the victory.

Iran - who shot 50% on the game - almost led from start to finish, though Lebanon did a good job of hanging around. And although it was Iran who did a poor job of looking after the ball, Lebanon were plagued by poor outside shooting and beaten on the glass. A pushback in the third saw them pull to within six, but it would be the closest they would get the rest of the way.

Wael Arakji had 24 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists and tried to lead a fourth quarter comeback, but Lebanon's defensive lapses allowed Iran to respond and keep their cushion.




KOREA over PHILIPPINES, 118-86
Box Scores.

Korea put on one of the offensive masterclasses of the FIBA Asia Cup so far with a 118-86 dismantling of the Philippines to book their spot in the Semi-Finals.

Korea shot over 66% from the field and 76% from beyond the arc, knocking down sixteen triples and registering 34 assists as nothing the Philippines could do would prevent their onslaught.

Terrence Romeo caught fire in the first half to keep Philippines within striking distance, registering 22 points on six of nine shooting from beyond the arc, but would not score again after the halftime break.

Korea were led by 22 points from Sekeun Oh, and 21 points from Sunhyung Kim, as he only missed two shot attempts.

Korea will face the winner of the Lebanon-Iran Quarter-Final, which will be played later this evening. 




NEW ZEALAND over JORDAN, 98-70
Box Scores.

New Zealand have set the stage for a Semi-Final match up with Australia after defeating Jordan 98-70 in their Quarter-Final on Thursday evening.

It turned into a blowout in the fourth quarter, and though New Zealand led from start to finish, Jordan did a good job of refusing to go down without a fight.

New Zealand dominated the glass, whilst shooting almost 50% from the field led by 19 points a-piece from Tohiraukura Smith-Milner and Shea Ili, with the latter adding 13 assists, as Finn Delaney finished with 17 points and 9 rebounds for the young squad.

The deficit might have been bigger early if it wasn't for Jordan's Mah'd Abdeen being their saving grace, exploding for 20 of his 24 points in the first half whilst missing just one shot.

One final third quarter rally from Jordan saw them pull within four, that that is as close as they would get the rest of the way.

Mohammad Hussein joined Abdeen as the only other player in double figures for Jordan, with 14 points.




AUSTRALIA over CHINA, 97-71
Box Scores.

Australia have booked their place in the FIBA Asia Cup Semi-Finals with a 97-71 drubbing of China.

A 14-0 run over the final four minutes of the third period, led by Mitchell McCarron, saw Australia take a sixteen point lead into the last quarter where they would cruise for the final 26-point differential.

The second half saw the Australians tighten the screw defensively, allowing just 29 points.

Jason Cadee led Australia in scoring with 20 points, McCarron finished with 17, whilst Daniel Kickert and Mitch Creek added 16 points-a-piece.

Gen Li had 19 points to pace China.

Australia now await the winner of the New Zealand against Jordan Quarter-Final match up on Thursday evening, and will join Iran and Korea in the Semi-Finals.




FOR MORE 2017 FIBA ASIA CUP COVERAGE, CHECK OUT THIS LINK

FOLLOW THE AUTHOR ON TWITTER: @hoopnut


LIKE OUR FAN PAGE ON FACEBOOK, TOO! 


2017 FIBA ASIA CUP PREVIEW: GILAS PILIPINAS vs LEBANON

Images from FIBA.basketball.
- These are arguably the two most basketball-mad countries in Asia, but it's rather unfortunate that they are now relegated to the consolation round after getting bounced in their respective Quarter-Finals matches. That doesn't mean this won't be a hotly contested affair, though. Lebanon have a bone to pick with Gilas Pilipinas after the Filipinos were the ones who eliminated Lebanon in the FIBA Asia Championship 2015. Winning here would be sweet revenge for the hosts, who are still hoping to end their campaign on a bright note despite no longer able to win the title. They need to beat the Philippines here for that to happen.

- Gilas were crushed - literally and figuratively - in their loss to Korea. They have always viewed Korea as a bitter rival, and nerly every loss to them carries a distinct sting. The one that happened in the Quarter-Finals was especially painful, given how Korea just flat out destroyed the Philippines, winning by 32 big points. The Filipinos just did not have the needed level of defensive intensity to neutralize Korea's superbly efficient passing and shooting. They are hoping to still put on a good show here against the hosts, but they will be handicapped as key frontliner Christian Standhardinger returned to the Philippines to join the Gilas Cadets in their mission to retain the gold medal in the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games.

GILAS PILIPINAS roster
Terrence Romeo - 5'10 - G
Carl Cruz - 6'3 - F
Gabe Norwood - 6'5 - F
Jio Jalalon - 5'8 - G
Jayson Castro - 5'10 - G
Calvin Abueva - 6'2 - F
June Mar Fajardo - 6'10 - C
RR Pogoy - 6'0 - G
Raymond Almazan - 6'7 - C
Japeth Aguilar - 6'10 - F/C
Christian Standhardinger - 6'8 - F/C
Matthew Wright - 6'2 - G
Ave. Height - 6'3
Ave. Age - 28

LEBANON roster
Nadim Souaid - 6'2 - G - 30
Jean Abdelnour - 6'6 - G - 33
Amir Saoud - 6'2 - G - 26
Wael Arkji - 6'4 - G - 22
Elie Rustom - 6'5 - F - 30
Charles Tabet - 6'8 - C - 29
Ali Haidar - 6'7 - F - 27
Pierre El Chartouny - 6'3 - G - 22
Bassel Bawji - 6'6 - F - 27
Norvel Pelle - 6'11 - C - 24
Fadi El Khatib - 6'6 - F - 38
Ali Mezher - 5'11 - G - 23
Ave. Height - 6'5
Ave. Age - 28

Game Notes:
1) PHI: WRIGHT WENT WRONG
- Matthew Wright was not maximized in Gilas's loss to Korea. He took just 5 shots and made just 1 triple on his way to a tournament-low 6 points. For sure, the Phoenix sniper is raring to have a bounce back game, especially after being named one of the top 5 3pt shooters in the tournament.

First 3 games: 15.0ppg, 3.7 triples per game, 11 FGA per game
vs KOR: 6pts, 1/3 3pts, 5 FGA




2) PHI: ROMEO RAGES
- When Gilas needed someone to keep them afloat against a hot shooting KOR, Romeo stepped up from the bench, scoring 22 points in a single quarter as Gilas remained in striking distance at the half. He was shut down in the last two periods, but he remains one of the most dangerous and explosive players for Gilas. His matchup with LBN's Wael Arakji should be one to watch.

Stats: 18.8ppg. 3.0apg, 3.5 triples per game.
vs KOR: 22pts, 1ast, 6 trilpes.




3) PHI: WE NEED NORWOOD
- One other matchup to watch here is between our very own Gabe Norwood and LBN's Fadi El Khatib. It will be a classic matchup of defense vs offense, with Gabe's defense crucial in trying to stop El Khatib. Gabe was visibly frustrated several times in PHI's loss to KOR, so he wants to do well here. He knows this may well be his final Asia Cup appearance (same with Fadi), so don't be surprised if he leaves everything out on the floor.

Stats: 5.3ppg 4.8rpg. 2.8apg. 1.0spg, 1.5bpg, 1.0 triple per game.
vs KOR: 0pts, 2rebs, 2asts, 1blk, 0 FGA.




4) LBN: WAEL'S WAR
- Wael Arakji was a very vocal and talkative opponent for Gilas in 2015, and he is surely hoping to get revenger here, especially in front of their own home fans. He has become LBN's new star scorer, and his duel with Romeo in the backcourt is definitely one to watch. He has been on fire in LBN's last three games, too, so it's reasonable to expect he will score a ton here again.

Stats: 16.4ppg,. 4.4rpg, 3.8apg, 2.0spg, 1.2 triples per game, 57.9% FGs.
vs PHI in 2015: 8pts, 2rebs, 2asts, 1 triple, 3/5 FGs.





5) LBN: FINAL TIME TO FACE FADI
- The 38-year-old icon continues to add to his legend. He has had two 30-point games already this tournament, and nobody should be surprised if he wants to add more to that here against the PHI. Fadi knows how big basketball is in the PHI, and for sure he would not want to disappoint the millions who will certainly tune in to this match. He will be a handful for Gabe Norwood, Calvin Abueva and the other Gilas wings, and his production will be important in seeing if they can indeed upend the Filipinos.

Stats: 23.0ppg, 5.4rpg, 4.0apg, 1.2 triples per game, 45.9 FG%.
Last game (vs IRI) - 18pts, 2rebs, 2asts, 1stl, 1 triple.




6) LBN: RUN RUN RUN
- LBN has lived and died with their transition game, and that will hold true again here against PHI. The Cedars love going on the break, and that will be an important weapon against a Gilas team that has had more than its fair share of injuries throughout the competition. If guys like Arakji, El Khatib, Amir Saoud and even Norvel Pelle can go out and run, Gilas will be in helluva lot of trouble.

Fastbreak Pts: LBN 17.2, PHI 9.5



FOR MORE 2017 FIBA ASIA CUP COVERAGE, CHECK OUT THIS LINK

FOLLOW THE AUTHOR ON TWITTER: @hoopnut

LIKE OUR FAN PAGE ON FACEBOOK, TOO! 

#FIBAAsiaCup2017 Preview: GILAS PILIPINAS vs KOREA

Images from FIBA.basketball.
Here we go again. This dance never ends, it seems. On the cusp of the Asia Cup semifinals, the only team standing in the way of Gilas Pilipinas is its old nemesis, South Korea. Gilas, of course, has had a colorful history with the Koreans, and the Filipinos have a penchant for ending up on the wrong side of that history. Things turned in 2013, though, when the Pinoys slew Korea and its curse in the semifinals of the FIBA Asia Championship at the MOA Arena, but since then, the Korean national team has been able to reassert its supremacy over Gilas, beating the Filipinos in all their succeeding matches. This time, in a win-or-go-home scenario, Gilas will have their backs against the wall against a team that has won three straight games, while the Filipinos will be battling with a short-handed and battered roster.

This would have been a dramatic affair already even if it were just a group phase game, but with it being a knockout match, the stakes are much higher and the atmosphere should be intense. Gilas are coming in on the crest of a 3-game win streak, but in each of their games, it seems their potency has waned a bit. They were red-hot against China, but their shooting tapered off against both Iraq and Qatar. In contrast, Korea are getting sharper and sharper with every passing match. In this game, Gilas has to keep things physical and deliberate, lest they lose a shootout against one of the best shooting teams in the continent. 

GILAS PILIPINAS roster
Terrence Romeo - 5'10 - G
Carl Cruz - 6'3 - F
Gabe Norwood - 6'5 - F
Jio Jalalon - 5'8 - G
Jayson Castro - 5'10 - G
Calvin Abueva - 6'2 - F
June Mar Fajardo - 6'10 - C
RR Pogoy - 6'0 - G
Raymond Almazan - 6'7 - C
Japeth Aguilar - 6'10 - F/C
Christian Standhardinger - 6'8 - F/C
Matthew Wright - 6'2 - G
Ave. Height - 6'3
Ave. Age - 28

KOREA roster
Park Chan-Hee - 30 - 6'3 - G - Incheon ET Land Elephants
Choi Jun-Yong - 23 - 6'7 - F/G - Seoul SK Knights
Lee Jung-Hyun - 30 - 6'3 - G - Anyang KGC
Heo Ung - 24 - 6'1 - G - Wonju Dongbu Promy
Kim Sun-Hyung - 29 - 6'2 - G - Seoul SK Knights
Lim Dong-Seop - 26 - 6'6 - F - Seoul Samsung Thunders
Kim Jong-Kyu - 26 - 6'9 - C - Changwon LG Sakers
Jeon Jun-Beom - 25 - 6'4 - F - Ulsan Mobis Phoebus
Yang Hong-Seok - 20 - 6'6 - F - Chung Ang University
Lee Jong-Hyun - 23 -6'9 - C - Ulsan Mobis Phoebus
Lee Seung-Hyun - 25 - 6'7 - F/C - Goyang Orions 
Oh Se-Keun - 30 - 6'7 - C/F - Anyang KGC 
Ave. Height - 6'5
Ave. Age - 26


1) FRIGHTENING FIELD GOALS
- Yes, we all cheered when Gilas waxed hot against the Chinese on Day 1, but that kind of shooting performance may not happen again in this tournament. Shooting 58% from the field as a team against a team as tight as KOR is next to impossible, and we will have to be extra crafty if we want to regularly puncture the hoops against this team. We started hot, but our shooting has tapered off, while KOR started slow but now is raising their percentage. We cannot engage a team like this in a straight up shootout, or we will lose. That's what happened when we lost to them in the 2017 Jones Cup.

FG% after 7 Days:
Gilas - 58% (CHN) - 38% (IRQ)  - 39% (QAT) — 44% overall
Korea - 42% (LBN) - 64% (KAZ) - 48% (NZL) - 46% (JPN) — 50% overall

2017 Jones Cup shooting:
PHI - 52% (2pt), 4% (3pt), 35% (TOT FG), 66% (FT)
KOR - 63% (2pt), 32% (3pt), 51% (TOT FG). 82% (FT)
*There are 5 holdovers from the PHI Jones Cup to this team.
*There are 10 holdovers from the KOR Jones Cup to this team.




2) PHI: STANDING STRONG
- Christian Standhardinger has hogged the headlines in Beirut because of his non-nonsense style of play. He is willing to exchange faces with anyone out there, and has shown an incredible degree of resiliency. He missed the QAT game because of an injury, but he has promised to play no matter what against KOR. He also has a bone to pick with them because the last time he faced KOR, Gilas ended up losing.

Stats: 15.5ppg, 6.5rpg, 66.7 FG%.
vs KOR (2017 Jones Cup): 16pts, 5rebs, 1ast, 1stl.




3) PHI: THE WRIGHT STUFF
- Matthew Wright has been nothing but money in this tournament, averaging 3.7 triples a game while shooting 52.4% from beyond the arc. He is in the top 10 in 3pt% and is 2nd overall behind Behnam Yakhchali for triples made per game. Needless to say, he will be a marked man by KOR here, and he will have to be creative in terms of getting to those open spots or finding other ways to score. Of course, like Christian, Matt wants payback because when he played KOR in the Jones Cup, he went ice cold.

Stats: 15.0ppg, 2.7rpg, 2.3apg, 1.0spg, 3.7 triples per game.
vs KOR (2017 Jones Cup) - 4pts, 2rebs, 3 TOs, 0/7 3pts




4) PHI: GAGANTI SI GABE!
- The last two times Gabe played KOR were not good. In the 2015 Jones Cup, Gabe scored 0 points and in the 2014 Asian Games, he was roasted alive by Moon Tae-Jong, who scored 38 points on Norwood. Both games were losses for Gilas, so one cannot blame Gabe if he wants payback. Moon is no longer around, but Gabe will have to limit guys like shooters Lee Jung-Hyun, Lim Dong-Seop, and Lee Seung-Hyun while also trying to stifle star KOR PG Kim Sun-Hyung. It'll be a tall task, but Gabe doesn't want it any other way.

Stats: 7.0ppg, 5.7rpg, 3.0apg, 1.3spg, 1.7bpg, 1.3 triples per game.
Last game (vs QAT) - 10pts, 7rebs, 5asts, 2blks, 2 triples.




5) KOR: OH NO!
- Oh Se-Keun has perhaps been the biggest thorn in Gilas's side ever since he debuted for the KOR NT in the 2009 FIBA Asia Championship. The 6'7 center-forward is maybe the craftiest big man in Asia, and he makes great use of his bulk, footwork, and soft touch around the basket. Gilas has never won a game in the Asia Cup or Asian Games against Oh, and that's a slump they can only break if guys like Standhardinger, Japeth Aguilar, and Raymond Almazan can slow Oh down.

Stats: 13.8ppg, 5.5rpg, 2.3apg, 2.0spg, 69.4 FG%.
Last time vs PHI (2017 Jones Cup) - 14pts, 3rebs, 6/6 FGs.
*Oh Se-Keun-led KOR teams beat the PHI in the following FIBA Asia tournaments: 
- 2009 FIBA Asia Championship (2x)
- 2010 Asian Games (Quarter-Finals)
- 2011 FIBA Asia Championship (3rd place game)
- 2014 Asian Games (group stage)




6) THE BLUR VS THE FLASH
- Kim Sun-Hyung is nicknamed "The Flash" in the KBL, making him pretty much their version of Jayson "The Blur" Castro. He is widely considered the best PG in the KBL given his speed, shooting, and playmaking. His matchup with Castro (or Romeo) here will be very interesting and very crucial. Both finish well around the basket, shoot well from the perimeter, and can pretty much leave anyone else in the dust. Castro cannot let Kim get hot and vice versa. 

Kim stats: 12.8ppg, 3.3rpg, 4.8apg, 1.8spg, 1.5 triples per game.
Castro stats: 6.7ppg, 3.7rpg, 5.0apg, .


7) PACE & SPACE
- These two teams play similar styles (lots of passing, running, and shooting), so this game will probably be a shootout and the epitome of pace and space. Right now, Gilas is better at 3pt shooting and offensive boards, but KOR has the edge in most other stats, including FG%, assists, fastbreak points, and even inside scoring. Playing fast has worked for Gilas so far, but against a team that is arguably better at that style of basketball, baka dehado ang Gilas.

Comparisons:
3pt% - PHI 42%, KOR 36%
FG% - PHI 44%, KOR 50%
Rebs - PHI 39.7, KOR 38.2
Assts - PHI 19.7, KOR 26.2
Fastbreak Pts - PHI 10.3, KOR 13.5
Pts in the Paint - PHI 30.0, KOR 33.0


8) COACHING PROFILE: CHOT REYES X HUR JAE
- These are two of the most respected and seasoned coaches from both countries, and their head-on collision here is surely going to be explosive. Coach Chot has had some success against KOR, of course, most notably ending the Korean curse in 2013, but he has also absorbed a couple of losses. Hur Jae, meanwhile, is not only a legendary player but also a bemedalled coach. This is his third tour of duty as Korea's head coach, and he has actually been undefeated against the PHI. Interestingly enough, this is only the second time they will face each other as coaches head-to-head. The first time was in the recent 2017 Jones Cup, which KOR won. 

Coach Chot vs KOR - 1-2
2013 FIBA Asia Championship - PHI 86, KOR 79 (Yoo Jae-Hak was KOR coach)
2014 Asian Games - PHI 95, KOR 97 (Yoo Jae-Hak was KOR coach)
2017 Jones Cup - PHI 72, KOR 83 (Hur Jae was KOR coach)

Coach Hur vs PHI - 5-0
2009 FIBA Asia Championship - KOR 69, PHI 56; KOR 82, PHI 80 (Yeng Guiao was PHI coach)
2011 Jones Cup - KOR 78, PHI 70 (Rajko Toroman was PHI coach)
2011 FIBA Asia Championship - KOR 70, PHI 68 (Rajko Toroman was PHI coach)
2017 Jones Cup - KOR 83, PHI 72 (Chot Reyes was PHI coach)




9) GILAS X SOUTH KOREA HEAD TO HEAD
- Gilas x KOR will always be full of drama. The games are usually close and always hotly contested. We play similar styles, after all, and are often among the title contenders in every tournament we join. It seems, though, that even if we have broken KOR's curse, they more often than not still get the better of us. 

Here is the head-to-head for both national teams in their last ten (10) meetings in the FIBA Asia Championship, Asian Games, and Jones Cup:

2017 Jones Cup: KOR 83, PHI 72
2015 Jones Cup: KOR 82, PHI 70
2014 Asian Games: KOR 97, PHI 95
2013 FIBA Asia Championship: PHI 86, KOR 79
2011 FIBA Asia Championship: KOR 70, PHI 68
2011 Jones Cup: KOR 78, PHI 70
2010 Asian Games: KOR 74, PHI 66
2009 FIBA Asia Championship: KOR 69, PHI 56 (group stage)
2009 FIBA Asia Championship: KOR 82, PHI 80 (battle for 7th place)
2009 Jones Cup: KOR 83, PHI 80




FOR MORE 2017 FIBA ASIA CUP COVERAGE, CHECK OUT THIS LINK

FOLLOW THE AUTHOR ON TWITTER: @hoopnut

LIKE OUR FAN PAGE ON FACEBOOK, TOO! 

#FIBAAsiaCup2017 Roundup Day 8

Images from FIBA.basketball.
The cast of the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup Quarter-Finals is finally complete after China andJordan secured separate wins on Day 8. Check out all the recaps and highlights from FIBA.com below. 

CHINA over SYRIA, 81-79
Box Scores.

China survived a serious scare from Syria, coming back from as many as fifteen down to prevail 81-79 on Tuesday evening.

It means China advance to play Australia on Thursday in the Quarter-Finals.

China breathed a sigh of relief when Syria's Al Haddad missed two free throws which would have forced overtime, having dominated the fourth quarter 25-11 after appearing down and out following an impressive early display from the Syrian side.

Micheal Madanly did all he could to give Syria a chance, finishing with 35 points and 7 assists, but it would not be enough.

A 10-2 start to the final period got China back into the game, before a Ren three pointer broke the tie to give China a three point lead with 5 minutes remaining and from there they would pull away.

It marks the second time in as many games China have lived dangerously, preventing upsets with big fourth quarter performances.

Gen Li led China with 19 points, with Xiaoyu Liu having 7 assists to go with his 10 points.




JORDAN over IRAQ, 84-70
Box Scores.

Jordan rounded out the FIBA Asia Cup 2017 Quarter-Finalists with a 84-70 victory over Iraq.

It means Jordan will advance to face New Zealand on Thursday.

With neither team able to gain separation, a 14-4 Jordan run, spearheaded by Amin Abu Hawwas over the final 4 minutes of the third period put the victors up double digits and firmly in the driving seat.

They extended their lead to as many as 17 points in the fourth quarter and thwarted any attempts at a comeback from Iraq.

Mohammad Hussein had a monster double-double of 15 points and 19 rebounds to lead Jordan, whilst Mah'd Abdeen joined him with 18 points and 10 assists. Abu Hawwas added 18 points of his own, along with 4 rebounds and 5 assists.

Mohammed Al-Khafaji led Iraq's scoring with 21 points, as Kevin Galloway stuffed the stat sheet with 13 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 6 steals.



FOR MORE 2017 FIBA ASIA CUP COVERAGE, CHECK OUT THIS LINK

FOLLOW THE AUTHOR ON TWITTER: @hoopnut

LIKE OUR FAN PAGE ON FACEBOOK, TOO! 

#FIBAAsiaCup2017 Roundup Day 7

Images from FIBA.basketball.
Day 7 was the start of the all-new Qualification to the Quarter-Finals at the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup, Korea and Lebanon advancing. Check out all the recaps and highlights from FIBA.com below. 

KOREA over JAPAN, 81-68
Box Scores.

Korea will face Philippines in the FIBA Asia Cup 2017 Quarter-Finals after outlasting Japan 81-68 on Monday afternoon.

In a game that featured multiple lead changes with neither side being able to gain an edge, Korea caught fire from beyond the arc and opened the final quarter on a 17-1 run to grasp control. 

Korea held a commanding 74-57 lead heading into the final 4:30 and Japan would not be able to close the gap.

Sekeun Oh had 16 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists for Korea, backed up by 16 points and 9 assists from Sunhyung Kim.

Japan's Ira Brown led four players into double figures with 14 points, 5 rebounds, 5 steals and 3 blocks.




LEBANON over TAIWAN, 90-77
Box Scores.

Lebanon advanced to the Quarter-Finals to play Iran with a 90-77 win over Chinese Taipei to round out Monday's action.

Fadi El Khatib continued his scoring tear, finishing with 30 points and adding 7 rebounds and 4 assists, as the hosts answered every Chinese Taipei run to come out victorious.

Lebanon shared the ball, registering 26 assists on their 32 field goals, with Ali Haidar adding 16, and Amir Saoud knocking down five three-pointers on his way to 15 points for Lebanon.

Yu-An Chiang had 16 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 5 steals for Chinese Taipei, and Cheng Liu and Yi-Hsiang Chou finished with 17 points each.



FOR MORE 2017 FIBA ASIA CUP COVERAGE, CHECK OUT THIS LINK

FOLLOW THE AUTHOR ON TWITTER: @hoopnut

LIKE OUR FAN PAGE ON FACEBOOK, TOO! 

#FIBAAsiaCup2017 Roundup Day 6

Images from FIBA.basketball.
The results of Day 6 formalized the Qualification to the Quarter-Finals pairings at the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup, with Gilas Pilipinas's sweep of Group B the highlight of the day. Check out all the recaps and highlights from FIBA.com below. 

CHINA over IRAQ, 61-60
Box Scores.

China survived a scare to prevail with a 61-60 victory over Iraq to tip off Sunday's final Group Phase action.

With Iraq leading by 9 with just over four minutes remaining, the upset of the tournament appeared to be on, but China refused to go down without a fight.

Ailun Guo caught fire, scoring 10 of his 19 points in the final three minutes to see China through. Han was the only other player in double figures for China with 11.

Omar Alazawi led Iraq with 22 on 8 of 13 shooting, going six of seven from beyond the arc.




PHILIPPINES over TAIWAN, 80-74
Box Scores.

The Philippines topped Group B with a 80-74 win to hold off a relentless Qatar on Sunday afternoon.

Matthew Wright had 11 of his 25 points in the first quarter to get the Philippines off to the start they needed and hit huge baskets throughout, as his squad finished the Group Phase at 3-0.

The Philippines were hot from beyond the arc, knocking down nine of their fifteen triples in the first half in front of a raucous crowd to remain in control.

Qatar kept on fighting, led by Mansour Elhadary, and got back within five in the fourth but were unable to get over the hump, thanks in large part to the play of Wright.

Cruz added 13 points for the Philippines, whilst Elhadary had 23 points and 6 assists for Qatar, and Saad finished with 18.




IRAN over JORDAN, 83-71
Box Scores.

Iran prevailed 83-71 in the battle of the two undefeated teams in Group A.

Another near triple-double from Hamed Hadadi (17 points, 7 rebounds and 9 assists), and Behnam Yakhchali's 20-point, 10-rebound double-double proved to be enough for Iran, who finish atop of Group A at 3-0.

Iran took a 43-26 lead into the break, pestering Jordan into 25% shooting, and led by as many as 22, as Jordan were chasing from the early stages.

Mahmoud Abdeen had 22 points and 9 assists to lead Jordan in the loss.




SYRIA over INDIA, 87-78
Box Scores.

Syria joined China in narrowly avoiding an upset with a 87-78 win over India in the final game of the Group Phase on Sunday evening.

Trailing by as many as nineteen early in the third quarter, Ivan Todorovic had 9 of his efficient 23 points in the period as Syria began mounting their comeback. 

Trailing by 8 to open the fourth, Micheal Madanly took over. He had 10 points in the final period, including six straight to give Syria the lead that they would hold on to for the victory.

Todorovic added 14 rebounds with his 23 points, and Madanly finished with 18 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists.

Amritpal Singh did a little bit of everything for India with 17 points, 13 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks. Amjyot Singh Gill had 12 points and 8 assists, Annadurai top scored with 20 points.

India finish up 0-3 at the bottom of Group A, as Syria picked up their first win at 1-2. They will play the Qualifications to Quarter-Finals on Tuesday.



FOR MORE 2017 FIBA ASIA CUP COVERAGE, CHECK OUT THIS LINK

FOLLOW THE AUTHOR ON TWITTER: @hoopnut

LIKE OUR FAN PAGE ON FACEBOOK, TOO! 

#FIBAAsiaCup2017 Preview: JAPAN vs KOREA

Images from FIBA.basketball.

Both and KOR have had up and down campaigns so far in the Asia Cup. JPN lost their first game before getting two easy wins against Hong Kong and Taiwan. KOR, meanwhile, lost their opener to LBN before stringing two wins of their own against KAZ and springing a giant-sized upset on Day 5 against NZL. Now both teams are coming into this head-to-head red hot, and it will be very interesting to see who ends up moving on and who ends up packing their bags.

This has been one of the most storied rivalries in Asia basketball. JPN and KOR have had many memorable battles in the past with many timeless heroes. Names like Hur Jae (KOR's current coach), Lee Sang-Min and the Moon brothers have been etched in KOR hoops lore, while guys like Takehiko Orimo, Michael Takahashi, and Takuya Kawamura are legendary for JPN. In this matchup, we will witness more big names take the floor and lead both teams, names like KOR's Oh Se-Keun and Kim Sun-Hyung as well as JPN's Makoto Hiejima and Kosuke Takeuchi.

In their most recent matchup, which happened in the 2017 EABA Championship, JPN prevailed over KOR in group play, 78-72. Naturalized player Ira Brown was JPN's finest in that game, while guards Hiejima and Yuki Togashi also impressed. On the other end, Lee Jong-Hyun and Jeon Jun-Beom were the ones who did damage for KOR. KOR will have a mind for payback in this game, and that may push them to an extra gear.

JAPAN roster
Ryoma Hashimoto - 29 - 5'10 - G - Aisin Seahorses
Yuki Togashi - 24 - 5'6 - G - Chiba Jets
Makoto Hiejima - 27 - 6'3 - G/F - Aisin Seahorses
Rysuei Shinoyama - 29 - 5'10 - G - Toshiba Brave Thunders
Atsuya Ota - 33 - 6'9 - C - San-En NeoPhoenix
Kosuke Takeuchi - 32 - 6'9 - C - Link Tochigi Brex
Yudai Baba - 21 - 6'5 - G/F - Tsukuba University
Daiki Tanaka - 25 - 6'4 - G/F - Toyota Alvark
Takatoshi Furukawa - 29 - 6'3 - G - Link Tochigi Brex
Ryumo Ono - 29 - 6'6 - F - Chiba Jets
Ira Brown - 35 - 6'4 - F - Hitachi Sunrockers
Tenketsu Harimoto - 25 - 6'6 - F - Nagoya Diamond Dolphins
Ave. Height - 6'3
Ave. Age - 28

KOREA roster
Park Chan-Hee - 30 - 6'3 - G - Incheon ET Land Elephants
Choi Jun-Yong - 23 - 6'7 - F/G - Seoul SK Knights
Lee Jung-Hyun - 30 - 6'3 - G - Anyang KGC
Heo Ung - 24 - 6'1 - G - Wonju Dongbu Promy
Kim Sun-Hyung - 29 - 6'2 - G - Seoul SK Knights
Lim Dong-Seop - 26 - 6'6 - F - Seoul Samsung Thunders
Kim Jong-Kyu - 26 - 6'9 - C - Changwon LG Sakers
Jeon Jun-Beom - 25 - 6'4 - F - Ulsan Mobis Phoebus
Yang Hong-Seok - 20 - 6'6 - F - Chung Ang University
Lee Jong-Hyun - 23 -6'9 - C - Ulsan Mobis Phoebus
Lee Seung-Hyun - 25 - 6'7 - F/C - Goyang Orions 
Oh Se-Keun - 30 - 6'7 - C/F - Anyang KGC 
Ave. Height - 6'5
Ave. Age - 26


Game Notes:
1) JPN: THE DEMON
- Ira Brown was JPN's best player the last time they beat KOR, and he should play a leading role again in this game. He is severely undersized as a PF, but he compensates for that with his speed, aggressiveness, and athleticism. He is quicker than most PFs, and he can guard opposing wingmen as well. His versatility is his biggest asset, and if he is allowed to explode, KOR will be in trouble. 

Stats: 8.0ppg, 6.0rpg, 2.7apg, 1.7spg.
Last game (vs HKG) - 11pts, 8rebs, 6asts, 2stls, 2blks, 1 triple. 
Last game vs KOR (EABA 2017) - 10pts, 8rebs, 5asts, 2stls.



2) JPN: BABALICIOUS
- One of the revelations for JPN this tournament has been 21-year-old Yudai Baba. Baba is the only amateur player for JPN, but he has actually been their most efficient player so far. The 6'5 high-flyer is known for his hops back home in Tsukuba, and he has taken the opportunity to show that here in the Asia Cup. He thrives in transition and is a very pesky defender. If KOR leaves him unchecked, he can go off on them big time.

Stats: 7.3ppg, 2.0rpg, 2.7apg, 1.7spg, 57.1 FG%.
Last game (vs HKG): 12pts, 5rebs, 5asts, 4stls, 1blk, 5/8 FGs.
Last game vs KOR (EABA 2017): 8pts, 4rebs, 2asts, 1stl.




3) JPN: HIGH ON HIEJIMA
- JPN's leading scorer so far in their 3 games has been veteran Makoto Hiejima, who has been on the senior NT since 2013. The multi-faceted 6'3 guard has a wicked sick midrange game but can also extend to beyond the arc, and that is what makes him so dangerous. He had a slow start in this competition, scoring only 2 points vs AUS, but he has since recovered his sharp form, scoring 15 points each against TPE and HKG. KOR needs to put the clamps on this guy, or they could be done for.

Stats: 10.7ppg, 2.3rpg, 2.0apg, 1.3spg, 1.3 triples per game, 52.4 FG%, 66.7 3pt%.
Last game (vs HKG) - 15pts, 2rebs, 1ast, 1stl, 2 triples.
Last game vs KOR (EABA 2017) - 10pts, 3rebs, 3asts, 2 triples.


4) KOR: THE KOREAN PINGRIS
- He's a bit undersized at center but more than makes up for it with his effort - that's Oh Se-Keun, who reminds me so much of Marc Pingris. Oh's hustle, energy, and physicality in the paint is Pingris-esque, but he takes it up a notch with a more versatile offensive game. Oh is known as the most skilled big man in the KBL because he can score with either hand around the hole and can also hit the occasional jumper. Oh didn't play for KOR in the EABA tournament, so he will face JPN with fresh eyes here, and he is good enough to be the crucial difference-maker in this contest. 

Stats: 13.0ppg, 6.0rpg, 2.3apg, 1.0spg, 65.4 FG%.
Last game (vs NZL) - 13pts, 7rebs, 1ast, 2blks, 6/9 FGs.




5) KOR: THE KOREAN BLUR
- Kim Sun-Hyung is nicknamed "The Flash" in the KBL, making him pretty much their version of Jayson "The Blur" Castro. He is widely considered the best PG in the KBL given his speed, shooting, and playmaking. He can get hot in a flash (hence the nickname) and is remembered for dunking on Yi Jianlian in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship in Manila. He also did not play in the EABA tournament, so like Oh, Sun-Hyung can be a huge difference-maker for them in this joust. His production and leadership will be critical for KOR's fate in this matchup.

Stats: 11.7ppg, 3.0rpg, 4.0apg, 2.0spg, 1.0 triple per game, 60.9 FG%.
Last game (vs NZL) - 6pts, 3rebs, 3asts, 3stls, 3/5 FGs.


6) KOR: THE DUNKING MACHINE
- 6'9 Kim Jong-Kyu is widely regarded as the most athletic big man in the KBL. His size, length, and explosiveness make him such a tough matchup for any opposing big. He loves running the floor, sliding down the baseline, or cutting in the key for those drop-off passes that he converts into big time jams. He also has a decent midrange game, but the knock on him is he focuses sometimes too much on offense and forgets the other things a great center does, which are grab those boards and block those shots. Again, like Oh and Sun-Hyung, Jong-Kyu did not play in the EABA joust, so he should be, quite literally, be a difference-maker here. 

Stats: 9.7ppg, 3.0rpg, 2.3apg, 72.2 FG%.
Last game (vs NZL) - 10pts, 3rebs, 3asts, 4/6 FGs.




7) SHOOT-OUT AND TRACK MEET ANYONE?
- JPN and KOR play similarly. They make use of speed and shooting - very typical of East Asia teams in general. This means it's reasonable to expect a shoot-out and track meet between these two sides. They've got a lot of speedsters and a lot of snipers, so we could see the scoreboard ring up quite often. 

3pt% - JPN 44.4%, KOR 36.0%
Takatoshi Furukawa (JPN) - 2.0 triples per game
Ryumo Ono (JPN) - 1.7 triples per game
Lee Jung-Hyun (KOR) - 2.0 triples per game
Lim Dong-Seop (KOR) - 1.7 triples per game

Fastbreak Pts - JPN 15.0ppg, KOR 13.7ppg

FOR MORE 2017 FIBA ASIA CUP COVERAGE, CHECK OUT THIS LINK

FOLLOW THE AUTHOR ON TWITTER: @hoopnut

LIKE OUR FAN PAGE ON FACEBOOK, TOO!