Asian Basketball Journal - February 18, 2014

This is the second in a pioneering series of posts dedicated to the Asian basketball scene. Here in the Philippines, at least, there really is no site (or person) really dedicated to covering Asian hoops, which is why I have decided to continue this new series addressing just that void. I believe that Asian basketball is such a vibrant source of stories, and I think this should be shared with hoop nuts here in the Philippines and beyond.

This past week saw many developments in Asian hoops, from the CBA Playoff seedings getting finalized, the Qatar League title going to Al Gharafa, other leagues from around the continent heating up, and the final game of the legendary Wang Zhizhi.

Dongguan caught a big one as they upset the defending champs.
(image from

CBA: The Final Eight have been sealed!
With the final round of elimination games coming to a close, the top eight teams who will vie in the 2014 CBA Playoffs have been finalized. Despite a tough loss to the Dongguan Leopards this past week, the defending champion Guangdong Southern Tigers remained firmly entrenched at the top spot with a 30-4 record. The eighth-seeded Shanghai Sharks, led by former NT players Liu Wei and Zhang Zhaoxu, will be the Southern Tigers’ foes in the quarterfinals. Guangdong will lean on veterans Yi Jianlian and Zhu Fangyu and imports Josh Powell and Royal Ivey in that match-up.

Li Muhao tries to drive past Yi Jianlian.
(image from

The other Playoff pairings are as follows:

#2 Xinjiang Flying TIgers vs #7 Liaoning Flying Leopards
- James Singleton, Lester Hudson, and Taiwanese shooter Yang Chin-Min are expected to lead the Flying Tigers as they take on the upstart Flying Leopards, who are led by the  impressive twin tower combo of Han Dejun and Li Xiaoxu. Import Dominique Jones is also one to watch, as he normed nearly 25 points per game in the eliminations.

#3 Dongguan Leopards vs #6 Tianjin Gold Lions
- The young duo of Gu Quan and Li Muhao are expected to be the bulwarks of this Dongguan five, but import Bobby Brown, who scored 56 points in one game this season, is still their main man. Tianjin, meanwhile, will rely on NBA vets Sebastian Telfair and Shelden Williams, as well as Jordanian star forward Zaid Abbas.

#4 Beijing Ducks vs #5 Guangsha Lions
- Buoyed by the return of Stephon Marbury and the resurgent play of Sun Yue, the Ducks might just be the darkhorse title contender of the lot. The Lions, however, also remain formidable with league top-scorer Jonathan Gibson and Taiwanese superstar Lin Chih-Chieh.

The 2014 CBA Playoffs.
(image from

CBA: Wang Zhizhi’s farewell game
“Old Man” Wang Zhizhi finally played the final game of his storied CBA career, tallying 14 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists as his Bayi Rockets lost to the Liaoning Flying Leopards, 93-72. This marked the end of Wang’s basketball journey from promising young big in the early 90s, to leading the Rockets to several titles late in the same decade, becoming the first Chinese to play in the NBA, and then back to the mainland after a tumultuous relationship with the CBA. He will definitely go down as one of the best to ever play in FIBA Asia, and one of the major pioneers who opened the doors for Asians to be seriously considered in the NBA.

Wang Zhizhi bids farewell to the CBA.
(image from

QBL: Al Gharafa pockets its maiden QBL crown!
Import Larry Blair waxed hot in the final period to lead Al Gharafa past defending champion Al Sadd, 78-67. Blair, who led the league in scoring, tossed in 28 points with 5 rebounds and 6 assists, while Manny Adako and Saad Abdulrahman tallied 15 and 10 points respectively. Over on the side of Al Sadd, NT mainstay Khalid Suliman Abdi exploded for 27 markers while Michael Southall had a 14-point, 14-rebound double-double. Despite losing in the Finals, Khalid Suliman Abdi was terrific, and this validates what I’ve believed all along — that he is the new main man for the Qataris. He’s someone we’ll have to watch in future FIBA Asia tourneys.

Al Gharafa wins the 2014 QBL title!
(image from The Peninsula Qatar)

IRI Superleague: Top teams continue to roll
Top teams Mahram Tehran and Azad University remained strong in the 2014 Superleague, dropping Shahrdari Gorgan and Zob Ahan Esfahan respectively. Former NT player Saeid Davarpanah scored 14 markers for Mahram, even as Farid Aslani and Arman Zangeneh added 16 apiece. Mahram, a traditional powerhouse in the Iranian Superleague, remains a few games behind league-leading Petrochimi, which has several NT players in its stable, but things look to brighten up soon for the former champions as the dynamic duo of Samad Nikkhah Bahrami and Hamed Haddadi is set to return after their teams got eliminated in the 2014 CBA regular season. Bahrami played for the Fujian Sturgeons, while Haddadi saw action for the Sichuan Blue Whales.

For its part, Zob Ahan Esfahan wasn’t able to survive the 38-point explosion of Mohammad Hassanzadeh in Azad’s 85-73 victory. The 23-year old phenom from Shiraz registered his season-high output after draining 15 of his 21 field goal attempts. The 6’8 power forward also added 11 rebounds, 3 steals, and 1 block in a sterling performance. Fellow young guns Milad Mazraeh and Mohammad Jamshidi backstopped Hassanzadeh with 19 and 15 points respectively. Jamshidi, who played for the Iranian NT in the 2013 FIBA Asia tourney, also turned in 7 dimes and 1 steal. This win pushed Azad to third place in the team standings while dropping Zob Ahan to fourth spot. Jamshidi and Hassanzadeh are two guys to watch out in the Iranian hoops scene, with both having solid chances of being NT regulars for the better part of the next decade. Hassanzadeh, of course, has some stiff competition at the PF position with NBA draftee Arsalan Kazemi and 2013 FIBA Asia All-Tournament member Oshin Sahakian. Jamshidi, meanwhile, is seen as the heir apparent to Samad Nikkhah Bahrami at the 3 spot.

Gorgan's Hooman Rezaei tries to score from under the basket against Mahram Tehran.
(image from

TPE-SBL: A favorite falls!
The Dacin Tigers gained some much-needed ground in their bid to make the SBL Playoffs after upsetting league-leading Pure Youth Construction, 75-68. Import Reggie Okosa was awesome here, scoring 16 points, grabbing 15 rebounds, and netting 3 steals to lead the Tigers. Okosa outplayed NT player Quincy Davis, who scored 14 markers and hauled down a dozen boards. Lo Yu-Chun, Chu Yi-Tsung, and Chang Chia-Jung all combined to hit 6 treys to support Okosa. Dacin is now at 11-14, just half-a-game behind the Yulon Luxgen Dinos. 

Other top teams like Taiwan Mobile Leopards and Taiwan Beer also had tough weeks. Mobile had to scramble past KKL (Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor), 75-74, while Beer almost got spanked by cellar-dweller, Bank of Taiwan, 70-67. The Leopards leaned on the 32-point, 17-rebound double-double of Luke Nevill for their 18th win, while Taiwan Beer was led by the combined 32 points of Patrick O’Bryant and NT swingman Liu Cheng. Nevill, the 7’2 Aussie, looks ripe to be this season’s SBL MVP/Best Import, averaging about 20 points and 11 rebounds. His Leopards look to be in a championship collision course against Davis’s Pure Youth five.

Reggie Okosa gets one over Quincy Davis.
(image from the SBL)

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According to Calvinists, God has only offered grace to a select few who were individually predetermined for salvation before man was created. Is this what the Scriptures proclaim? No, they do not.

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God..(NKJV)
The words of John Calvin are not Scripture.
The words of the apostle Paul are Scripture.(SEE: 2 Peter 3:15-16)

The apostle Paul wrote the letter to Titus. Titus is Scripture. John Calvin did not pen one single verse of Scripture. Calvin's words were not Scripture. If John Calvin's writings were inspired by God, then they should be included in the Bible.


Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. (NKJV)

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. (New International Version)

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people. (English Standard Version)

Titus 2:11 For the all saving grace of God has been revealed to all men; (Aramaic Bible in Plain English)

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that brings salvation hath appeared to all men, (King James Bible)

The free gift of salvation has been offered to all men who will accept God's terms for pardon.

1. Faith: John 3:16
2. Confession: Romans 10:9
3. Repentance: Acts 3:19
4. Water Baptism: Acts 2:38