Day 5 of the 2012 FIBA Asia Cup

Samad Nikkhah Bahrami led the Iranians in another
thrilling comeback victory.

The results of Day 5 formalized the quarterfinal pairings as the 2012 FIBA Asia Cup wound up its elimination round games. Both China and Lebanon blasted their respective foes to end up with identical 3-1 records. This was where the quotient system kicked in, effectively putting Lebanon atop Group A, followed by the Philippines at second and China at third. The Group B games, though, were both down-the-wire as Taiwan needed a buzzer-beater to beat Qatar, while Iran made another late rally to upend the hosts and sweep their elims assignments.

CHINA over MACAU, 106-46
The Chinese kept Macau winless with a merciless beating. Six players scored in double-figures for Coach Fan Bin, led by Cao Yan’s 16 points, which went along with his 9 rebounds and 3 assists. Guo Ailun, Duan Jiangpeng, and Wang Zhelin scored 13 points each to underscore China’s dominance. The Chinese shot 51% from the field and more than doubled up on Macau’s rebounds, assists, and steals totals. They also forced 23 Macanese turnovers while committing just 9 of their own. Macau saw only one player score in twin digits as Lao Fu In ended up with a dozen markers. China moves on to face Japan in the crossover quarterfinals.

CHN 106 – Cao Y 16, Guo 13, Duan 13, Wang ZL 13, Zhao 12, Yu 10, Zhang 8, Wang ZR 7, Cao F 5, Wu 5, Sui 4, Sun 0
MAC 46 – Lao FI 12, Iong KK 9, Lo 9, Lai 6, Cai 5, Cheong 5, Wong 0, Lao CP 0, Iong NS 0
QS: 24-17, 47-30, 79-39, 106-46

Iong Ka Kin of Macau slices through the
Chinese defense for a lay-up.

Big man project Yu Changdong tries to
assert himself down low.

Lebanon wasted no time in putting away the clearly overmatched Uzbeks. The WABA powerhouse squad started strong and never relinquished their big lead en route to their third win, which gave them Group A’s top spot going into the quarterfinals. As expected, Coach Ghassan Sarkis’s boys dominated every aspect of the game, with Fadi El Khatib continuing to show great form. The iconic Lebanese cager scored a tournament-high 37 points on 14-of-19 FG shooting while also grabbing 11 rebounds and dishing out 5 assists. Big man Charles Tabet also accounted for himself quite well, scoring 13 markers and collaring 10 caroms. Only Aleksandr Kozlov finished in double-figures for Uzbekistan with 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Lebanon’s foe in the crossover knockout round is Qatar.

Karl Sarkis and the Lebanese topped
Group A after beating Uzbekistan.

Vyacheslav Denisov goes up strong
in a losing effort for the Uzbeks.

LIB 84 – El Khatib F 37, Tabet 13, Rustom 10, Souaid 10, Stephan 5, Sarkis 5, El Khatib C 2, Hawe 2, Martinez 0
UZB 49 – Kozlov 15, Juginisov 7, Denisov 6, Nuraliev 5, Rahimov 5, Yahin 4, Kadirov 4, Timofeev 3, Tangrikulov 0, Nabiev 0, Safarov 0
QS: 24-9, 41-23, 66-38, 84-49

TAIWAN over QATAR, 75-73
Qatar finally played their naturalized import, Trey Johnson, while Taiwan’s Lee Hsueh-Lin did not play at all in this down-the-wire encounter. Tien Lei and Lin Chih-Chieh connected on a last-second alley-oop play that propelled the EABA squad over its Gulf rival and into third place in Group B. It was a sorry defeat for Coach Tom Wisman’s wards, who held the lead throughout the first half only to see it evaporate in the face of tenacious play from the Taiwanese. The triple-tower combo of Tseng Weng-Ting, Wu Tai-Hao, and Tien produced a total of 41 points and 18 rebounds for Coach Hsu Chin-Che. Diminutive guard Chen Shih-Chieh filled in well in the absence of Lee by hitting 3 tryes en route to 15 big points, 6 boards, and 5 dimes. Qatar was led by Erfan Ali Saeed and Johnson, who scored 17 and 15 points respectively. In the next round, Taiwan will face the Philippines, while the Qataris take on the Lebanese.

Jet Chang wards off Qatar's Daoud Daoud as he
goes for the lay-up.

Qatari naturalized player Trey Johnson
saw action for the first time on Day 5.

TPE 75 – Tseng 17, Wu 15, Chen SC 15, Tien 11, Chang 9, Lin 5, Lu 3, Su 0, Mao 0, Chen HA 0, Creighton 0
QAT 73 – Saeed 17, Johnson 15, Mohammed B 12, Mohamed 7, Salem 7, Musa 5, Ali 4, Abdi 2, Mohammed M 2, Zaidan 2, El Hadary 0, Daoud 0
QS: 17-22, 35-36, 53-51, 75-73

IRAN over JAPAN, 71-65
Iran limited Japan’s outside shooting while asserting themselves down low as the WABA quintet rallied yet again for their third comeback victory. In this tight encounter, the boys of Coach Memi Becirovic outrebounded and outstole the hosts to gain a slight advantage into the homestretch. Once again, it was Samad Nikkhah Bahrami at the forefront of Iran’s attack, scoring 16 points to go along with 7 assists. He was backstopped by NT vets Hamed Afagh, Oshin Sahakian, and Asghar Kardoust, each of whom finished with a dozen points. Sahakian also outplayed Japan’s naturalized player, JR Sakuragi, who had his worst outing of the tournament so far. Ryota Sakurai and Kosuke Takeuchi led the Japanese with 14 and 12 points respectively. Takeuchi also grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked 1 shot. Iran has the lightest assignment of the second round as they square off against Uzbekistan, while Team Hayabusa takes on the young and dangerous Chinese.

JR Sakuragi had his worst offensive performance
so far against Team Iran.

Hamed Afagh continued raining jumpers
as Iran tops Group B.

IRI 71 – Bahrami 16, Afagh 12, Sahakian 12, Kardoust 12, Davoudi 11, Foroutan 6, Arghavan 2, Aslani 0, Jamshidi 0
JPN 65 – Sakurai 14, Takeuchi 12, Kanamaru 10, Furukawa 9, Sakuragi 8, Tanaka 5, Hiejima 4, Kurihara 3, Ichioka 0
QS: 13-17, 25-35, 46-51, 71-65

 All images are by Milad Payami/
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