2014 FIBA Asia U18 Championships: Day Six

The Philippines went through the wringer again, relying on the late-game heroics of Kobe Paras and Andrei Caracut to squeak past an overachieving Malaysian side at the close of group play on Day 6 of the 2014 FIBA Asia U18 Championships. That result sealed the QF pairings, with China facing Kazakhstan, Batang Gilas battling Taiwan, Iran playing Malaysia, and Korea squaring off against Japan.

Andrei Caracut reacts after nailing the game-winning three-pointer as
Batang Gilas finished third in Group E.


Day Six:
The Hong Kongers hung tough with the Kazakhs for the entire first quarter before the latter opened things up in the second period and proceeded in cruise control till the end. The taller Central Asians dominated the interior, outrebounding Hong Kong, 53-28, and outscoring them in the paint, 54-20. Valentin Kirilin and Ruslan Aitkali each dropped 21 points to lead coach Alexey Yeropkin’s squad to the final eight, where they will face China. Hong Kong, meanwhile, was paced by Ho Man Chu and Ka Chung On, who tallied 15 and 12 markers respectively. 

Ho Man Chu goes for the lay-up against Kazakhstan.

Zhalgasbek Kadyr drives strong against Hong Kong.

JAPAN over KUWAIT, 86-55
The Kuwaitis were as pesky as ever here, staying within striking distance till midway through the fourth quarter, where Japan clamped down on defense and extended a 12-point bubble to the final 31-point spread. Kuwait already had 55 points by the 5-minute mark of the payoff period, but they never scored again. Once again, the pairing of Naser Al-Yahyouh and Hamad Hasan was the bright spot for Kuwait, totaling 26 points and 21 rebounds in the loss. On the other end, the victors were paced by Ryosuke Motomura and Yuki Mikami, who scored 19 and 17 respectively. Team Hayabusa nailed a dozen triples in this game, with Motomura and Mikami accounting for nine three-point conversions. Team captain Ryogo Sumino finally saw action again for Japan after missing a couple of games with a knee injury, scoring a baker’s dozen in just 15 minutes of play.

Ryogo Sumino returned to action with a braced knee.

Taiga Watanabe challenges fellow big man Abdulaziz Hussain.

IRAN over TAIWAN, 74-41
Just a day after struggling against Japan, Iran spanked erstwhile unbeaten Taiwan and solidified its dominance in Group F with a 6-0 sweep. Team Melli outscored its foes, 56-31, after the first canto to turn a competitive battle into a bona fide rout. Not surprisingly, Iran dominated the interior again, outrebounding Taiwan, 48-29, and outscoring them around the basket, 42-14. Abdolsamad Soroodi and Ali Allahverdi each scored 14 points to pace the winners, while Mohammad Yousofvand recorded an 11-point, 14-rebound double-double in under twelve minutes of play. Serbian mentor Milos Pejic will now prepare his squad to take on Malaysia in the knockout round. Coach Yang I-Feng, meanwhile, goes back to the drawing board as he now faces the prospect of playing the Philippines, which beat his team a few weeks ago in a couple of tune-up games. Athletic wingman Tseng Po-Yu was the only Taiwanese to score in double-digits with 16 points.

Mahyar Mehr pulls up from the top of the key against Taiwan.

Big man Sun Yung-Cheng uncorks from the perimeter.

CHINA over KOREA, 81-54
After a slow start and drawing with the Koreans at the end of the first twenty minutes, coach Fan Bin’s wards turned on the jets and broke the game open in the second round en route to a sweep of Group E. NBA hopeful Zhou Qi played sparingly in the first half but dominated in the last two periods, leading China with 16 points, 9 rebounds, 7 blocks, and 3 assists. He shot 6/7 from the field and 4/5 from the line in a scintillating effort. Together with Wang Zhelin, Zhou is seen as the future of China’s senior men’s team. He was backstopped by Zou Yuchen and Zhao Rui, who tallied 18 and 13 markers respectively. Korea, meanwhile, saw its guns fall silent in the second half. They finish second in Group E and face dangerous Japan in the QFs. Byeon Jun-Hyeong and Jeon Hyun-Woo paced the losing side with a combined 24 points.

Byeon Jun-Hyeong is met in mid-air by Shao Yunglun.

Zhou Qi was unstoppable against Korea.

QATAR over JORDAN, 66-48
Hosts Qatar salvaged some pride last night after overcoming Jordan and recording its first win in Group E. Qatar started strongly in the second half and never looked back, flashing the form that they missed in their close loss to the Philippines in their previous game. Abdulrahman Saad, once again, was sterling for the home side with a game-high 28 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 steals, while Mohamed Abed tallied 10 points and 7 boards in support. Big man Abdelrahman Abdelhaleem also impressed by grabbing NINETEEN rebounds. The 6’6 center played the game without relief. As for Jordan, Ibrahim Hamati and Mitri Bousheh dropped 12 and 11 points respectively in defeat.

Abdulrahman Saad slices and dices against Jordan.

Yazeed Hijazi goes up strong against Qatar.

In a battle of SEABA squads, Malaysia looked like the better team for the most part, but they couldn’t close it out and were on the receiving end of a late-game flurry from coach Jamike Jarin’s wards. Kobe Paras went on a personal 5-0 spurt inside the game’s final minutes to spark some life for Batang Gilas, while Andrei Caracut sealed the come-from-behind triumph, sinking the go-ahead three-pointer with 24 seconds left. Malaysia’s Joon Lock Wee still had a chance to turn the tables after an unsportsmanlike foul was called on the Philippines, but he missed two free throws and two successive attempts from beyond the arc in the dying seconds. It was a game that was tighter-than-expected as the Philippines beat this same Malaysian team a few months ago in the SEABA qualifier, 93-76. One key player from that game, however, was absent here – Thirdy Ravena – who is currently playing in Manila’s top collegiate tournament. Still, coach Jarin had more than enough firepower to escape the upset axe. Radge Tongco rifled in three treys on his way to 22 points, while 6’6 Kobe Paras contributed a dozen markers. Davu Yu also stepped up with a key three-point conversion in the fourth period, while Mark Dyke tallied 10 points and 10 rebounds in the win. On the other end, Yi Hou Wong and John Wong both stole the show with a combined 27 markers, while top gun Joon Lock Wee added 10 points. Wee, however, made just 3 of his 10 FG attempts.

Dave Wilson Yu tries a teardrop shot against Malaysia.

Joon Lock Wee struggled with his shot against Batang Gilas.

Radge Tongco topscored anew for the Filipinos.

Images are from FIBA Asia.

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