FIBA Asia stars bannering their pro clubs in the 2015-2016 season!

*This first appeared on my weekly column on

The calendar of FIBA Asia competitions for 2015 is done, which means that the stars of the different national teams have returned to their respective pro teams in the hopes of pocketing club championships. Let’s take a look at some of these leading players who have been spearheading their respective teams’ chances in the 2015-2016 season.

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Hamed Haddadi (Sichuan Blue Whales - CBA)
Current stats: 20.3ppg, 16.0rpg, 4.7apg, 2.2bpg.
- The gigantic Iranian is currently lording over the Chinese Basketball Association as his Sichuan Blue Whales have marched on undefeated in six games. The 2.18m former NBA center started slow with only 8 points in his season debut against Jiangsu, but he has since been unstoppable, recording double-doubles in four of his last five games.

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Lin Chih-Chieh (Zhejiang Guangsha Lions - CBA)
Current stats: 17.3ppg, 6.0rpg, 3.2apg, 1.3spg, 2.8 triples per game.
- This super sniper cum playmaker from Chinese Taipei continues to take the CBA by storm. The former FIBA Asia All-Star Five member has been a superb quarterback for the Lions so far this season, making plays for his teammates and scoring heavily when needed. He will need to continue playing at a high level, however, if they are to maintain their status among the top four clubs in the team standings.

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Guo Ailun (Liaoning Flying Leopards - CBA)
Current stats: 15.0ppg, 3.0rpg, 5.8apg, 1.7spg, 1.5 triples per game. 
- Guo was, for the first time, named to the FIBA Asia All-Star Five this year, and that seems to have bolstered his play even more in the CBA. He is the leading local scorer for Liaoning, which qualified for the championship series the previous season. Guo remains ultra-aggressive on both ends of the floor, and he is hitting his shots an a very efficient rate. It’s no wonder why many believe he is already the best Chinese point guard out there bar none.

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Andray Blatche (Xinjiang Flying Tigers - CBA)
Current stats: 19.7ppg, 8.5rpg, 2.3apg, 1.7spg, 2.0 triples per game.
- The naturalized Filipino signed a huge CBA contract this year, and it seems he’s, indeed, being maximized by the retooled Xinjiang Flying Tigers, who are looking to bounce back after they missed the playoffs in 2014-2015. Blatche’s current numbers aren’t as eye-popping as the ones he posted last season, but right now his club is undefeated, which is certainly a big reason to smile about.

Image by Ashkan Mehryay/Nasim.
Sajjad Mashayekhi (Chemidor Tehran - Superleague)
Current stats: 16.7ppg, 6.0rpg, 3.3apg, 1.8spg, 2.2 triples per game.
- Mashayekhi played mostly as a back-up to Mahdi Kamrani in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship, but he seems to have benefitted a lot from that role now that he’s one of the leading men of Chemidor Tehran (formerly the Mahram Tehran club). The 1.80m point guard leads the team in scoring, and has shown a vastly improved three-point shot. Together with other national pool members Oshin Sahakian and Farid Aslani, Mashayekhi looks to lead Chemidor to the peak of the Iranian Superleague.

Image from FIBA.
Mohammad Jamshidi (Naft Abadan - Superleague)
Current stats: 13.7ppg, 4.7rpg, 2.0apg, 1.5spg, 1.0 triple per game.
- Jamshidi has slowly developed into a very dependable player for the Iranian national squad, and the 1.99m wingman has also become one of the biggest stars in the Superleague for Naft Abadan. His club is currently tied for first place, and if he continues to do well, it won’t be far-fetched to imagine the club netting their first Superleague title in history. 

Makoto Hiejima (R) - Image from Aisin.
Makoto Hiejima (Aisin Seahorses - NBL-Japan)
Current stats: 14.2ppg, 3.3rpg, 3.4apg
- Hiejima was the darling of the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship, with many pundits actually feeling he had a great shot at being a part of the tournament’s All-Star Five. His stellar play has continued for the Aisin Seahorses in the NBL, where he has scored in double-figures in all but one of the team’s 11 contests. The 1.90m 25-year-old has certainly blossomed into one of Team Hayabusa’s most fearsome weapons.

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Lee Seung-Hyun (Goyang Orions - KBL)
Current stats: 12.3ppg, 6.3rpg, 2.8apg 
- The Goyang Orions are currently at the very top of the Korean Basketball League with a league-leading 18-win, 3-loss slate, and national team stalwart Lee Seung-Hyun has been a huge part of the squad’s success. He has increased his production now that he is in his sophomore pro campaign, and he has really embraced his role as one of the club’s leaders. It shouldn’t be long before he rises to be one of the Korean national team’s go-to-guys as well.

Image from Paul Ryan Tan/Sports5.
Terrence Romeo (GlobalPort Batang Pier - PBA)
Current stats: 22.0ppg, 3.0rpg, 2.7apg, 2.3 triples per game.
- Romeo burst onto the Asian hoops scene this year by dominating in the 2015 William Jones Cup and wowing fans in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship. His flamboyant moves, however, have long been a showcase in the Philippine Basketball Association, and it has been no different this season. Romeo continues to be among the league leaders in scoring and three-point shooting while also helping his club rise to the top of the standings with a 3-win, 1-loss card. If GlobalPort means to have a banner season, then Romeo will be at the very head of that crusade.



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