2014 Asian Games Basketball Roundup: Day Eleven

Gilas Pilipinas ended its campaign in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea on a bright note, beating upstart Mongolia and finishing seventh in the field of sixteen. The win, however, failed to completely compensate for the fact that this is the worst finish of the Philippines in the Asian Games. China, meanwhile, upended Qatar to finish in the top five, while Korea and Iran won in the semis to dispute the gold medal today.

The old and the new together. Old-timer Kim Joo-Sung is serving as a mentor
to young big man Lee Jong-Hyun.

Game recaps:
Ranidel De Ocampo flirted with a triple-double in this game, while June Mar Fajardo reeled in a double-double performance as the Philippines notched just its third win in seven games here in Incheon. RDO scored 25 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, and handed out 7 assists in 32 minutes of play for Gilas, which finishes outside of the top 6 for the first time ever. Fajardo gave a good account of himself as Marcus Douthit was used sparingly. The SMB big man dropped 11 points and 12 boards to anchor Gilas’s middle. LA Tenorio and Gabe Norwood also did well with 11 points each. Mongolia’s dynamic duo of Bilguun Battuvshin and Sanchir Tungalag paced the losing side with a combined 33 markers.
What's in store for the Gilas program after a roller-coaster 2014?
(image from LA Tenorio's Instagram)

Gilas bids farewell to its captain, Jimmy Alapag.
(image by Jun Mendoza)

CHINA over QATAR, 70-60
China had another fast start and sustained it the rest of the way to finish fifth overall in the tournament. Guo Ailun, Zhao Tailong, and Ding Yanyuhang combined for 10 threes as the Chinese dominated proceedings against Qatar. Guo and Zhao each tallied 15 points, while Ding recorded 13. Wang Zhelin anchored the middle for Gong Luming’s squad, which is prepping for the 2015 FIBA Asia Championships, which is set to be held in China next September. Wang had 11 markers and 7 rebounds in only 15 minutes of action. On the other end, Baker Mohammed was the most impressive player on coach Vasilis Fragkas’s squad, reeling in 24 points and 8 boards while shooting 10/15 from the field. Erfan Ali Saeed also did well with 11 markers and 7 caroms. Mainstays Daoud Musa Daoud, Khalid Suliman Abdi, and Yaseen Musa didn’t play for Qatar.

Erfan Ali Saeed challenges the trees of China.

Guo Ailun shows his quickness against Boney Watson.

Wang Zhelin tries a baby hook against the Qatari frontline.

This was a tight game all throughout, but youngster Lee Jong-Hyun came up big as Korea continued its unbeaten run in the Asiad. The 20-year old Lee, touted to be the top pick in the 2014 KBL Draft, led the hosts with a dozen points, 4 rebounds, and 2 blocked shots. He connected on 6 of his 8 FG attempts and held his own against Japan’s Takeuchi twins. Veterans Yang Dong-Geun and Cho Sung-Min also came to play, pairing up for 21 markers, 5 boards, and 5 dimes. Kim Sun-Hyung also started for coach Yoo Jae-Hak and added 10 points and 2 steals. The Koreans struggled from downtown in this one, but they compensated by doing much better in the 2-point area and outrebounding the Japanese, 34-29. Top NBL-Japan playmaker Naoto Tsuji had his best game of the tournament yet, scoring 18 points on 5/8 3pt shooting, while backcourt partner Makoto Hiejima came off the bench to drop 11 markers. Japan made 53% of its threes in this game, but they struggled elsewhere, shooting under 40% overall from the field. Korea advances to the gold medal game, while Japan next fights for the bronze.

Despite a broken finger, Cho Sung-Min continues to shoot well for Korea.

Naoto Tsuji waxed hot for Team Hayabusa.
(image from the JBA)

Coach Yoo Jae-Hak will have his hands full in the final game against Iran.

Kazakhstan had a golden opportunity to spring the tournament’s biggest upset, but Iran proved steadier in the clutch to pull out a hard-fought win. Samad Nikkhah Bahrami needed to muster nothing short of his best against Kazakhstan, scoring 27 points, hauling down 4 rebounds, and dishing out 6 assists in playing all but two minutes. He shot 3 triples to boot. Hamed Haddadi, also played heavily and recorded 13 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 assists, while 21-year-old Arman Zangeneh gave Team Melli a huge lift off the bench with 12 markers and 6 boards. Iran rode on its 50% 3pt shooting and 53% FG shooting to make up for its rebounding deficit, 31-34, and its 15 turnovers. The Kazakhs waxed from long distance, too, with Anton Ponomarev and Pavel Ilin each nailing four treys. They each tallied 16 markers, while Anatoliy Kolesnikov had 13 points and 10 boards in 38 minutes. The Iranians are already assured of their best finish ever in the Asian Games, as the highest they’ve attained is third place in 1951, 2006, and 2010.

Samad Nikkhah Bahrami and Iran had their hands full against the overachieving Kazakhs.
(image from Agence France-Presse)

Hamed Haddadi slams one home against Kazakhstan.

Coach Memi Becirovic won't pull any punches in his quest for the gold medal.

Unless otherwise specified, all images are from Jumpball.co.kr.

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