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Play-Off bracket4

Asian Championships Qualifying Round Standings
Group E
1. Iran 2-1
2. Lebanon 3-0
3. Qatar 1-2
4. Taiwan 0-3
Group F
1. Jordan 1-2
2. Japan 1-2
3. Kazakhs. 2-1
4. Korea 2-1
Group G
1. Philipp. 3-0
2. India 0-3
3. Kuwait 1-2
4. Syria 2-1
Group H
1. China 3-0
2. Indones. 2-1
3. UAE 0-3
4. Hong Ko. 1-2

Asian Championships Preliminary Round Standings
Group A
1. Iran 3-0
2. Jordan 2-1
3. Philipp. 1-2
4. China 0-3
Group B
1. Japan 3-0
2. Lebanon 2-1
3. UAE 1-2
4. Kuwait 0-3
Group C
1. Qatar 3-0
2. Kazakhs. 2-1
3. Indones. 1-2
4. India 1-2
Group D
1. Korea 3-0
2. Taiwan 2-1
3. Hong Ko. 1-2
4. Syria 0-3

Asian Championships
Final Standings
1. Iran
2. Lebanon
3. Korea
4. Kazakhs.
5. Jordan
6. Taiwan
7. Qatar
8. Japan
9. Philipp.
10. China
11. Syria
12. Indones.
13. HongKo.
14. Kuwait
15. India
16. UAE

Asian Championships Stats Leaders
Points Per Game
1. Madanly (SYR) 33.1
2. F. ElKhatib (LEB) 27.3
3. H. Chen (TPE) 18.1
4. R. Wright (JOR) 18.1
5. Ponomarev(KAZ) 17.6
Rebounds Per Game
1. W. Yakoub (SYR) 10.6
2. H. Ehadadi, (IRI) 9.6
3. S. Ha, (KOR) 9.1
4. Joe Vogel, (LEB) 8.9
5. M.Madanly, (SYR) 8.1
Assists Per Game
1. H. Ehadadi (IRI) 1.4
2. S. Ha (KOR) 1.0
3. Joe Vogel (LEB) 1.0
Steals Per Game
1. S. Kadam (IND) 2.3
2. K. Igarashi (JPN) 1.8
3. R. Alrabah (KUW) 1.7
Blocks Per Game
1. H. Ehadadi (IRI) 1.4
2. S. Ha (KOR) 1.0
3. Joe Vogel (LEB) 1.0
1. J. Vogel (LEB) 69.5%
2. S. Ha (KOR) 68.7%
3. Sakuragi (JPN) 64.7%
1. K.Shin(KOR) 52.6%
2. T. Orimo (JPN) 50.0%
3. Chen (CHN) 50.0%
Free Throws
1. El Khatib (LEB) 85.7%
2. Issakov (KAZ) 84.6%
3. Norwood (PHI) 81.0%

Iranian National Team Asian Championships Winner 2007 (Photo: Fiba)
Iranian National Team Celebrating Asian Championships 2007 (Photo: Fiba)

Iranian National Team 2007





4 Ali Doraghi (208-F-84) of Petrochimi Imam Harbour
5 Amir Amini (197-G-84) of Paykan Tehran
6 Javad Davari (183-G-83) of Zob Ahan Esfahan
7 Mehdi Kamrani (182-G-82) of Paykan Tehran
8 Aidin Bahrami (202-F-82) of Saba Battery

9 Mohammad Akbari (194-F/G-86)
10 Hamed Afagh (189-G-83) of Saba Battery
11 Jaber Rouzbahani (223-C-86) of Zob Ahan Esfahan
12 Oshin Sahakian (203-F-86) of Zob Ahan Esfahan
13 Moosa Nabipoor (213-C-83) of Sanam Tehran
14 Mohammad Nikkhah (199-F/G-83) of Saba Battery
15 Hamed Hadadi (218-C-85) of Paykan Tehran

Head Coach: Rajko Toroman
Coach Assistant: Mehran Hatami

  Japan loses to Qatar, finishes in 8th place - Aug. 5, 2007 
Well, so much for J.R. Henderson's impact on the Japanese national team. Even with the naturalized former NBA player, Japan ended up finishing in 8th place in the FIBA Asia Championship-their worst showing ever-after losing on Sunday (8/5) to Qatar 86-82 in Tokushima.

Japan actually led at the end of the 1st half by a score of 38-34, but with J.R. Sakuragi (Henderson's Japanese name) fouling out in the 4th quarter, Japan was unable to hold onto the lead and ended up losing by 4 points. Sakuragi did have 11 points, but managed to get only 2 rebounds. Shooting guard Takuya Kawamura (191-G-86), who was exceptional in the tournament and was arguably Japan's best player during the week, led Japan with 20 points on 6-for-10 shooting from 3-point range. The Takeuchi twins did their part to help Japan as Joji had 14 points while his brother Kosuke had 6 points and 12 rebounds.

Japan must now deal with the disappointment of their 8th place finish after coming into the tournament with such high hopes. Some things do look promising, however, like the emergence of Takuya Kawamura and the addition of J.R. Sakuragi to the squad. Sakuragi played hard and played well and will be looked upon to lead the Japanese national team for years to come.

  Iran, Behind Ehadadi, Defeats Lebanon for Asian Title - Aug. 5, 2007
218 cm Hamed Hadadi (Ehadadi) (218-C-85) scored 31 points on 14 of 18 shooting, and grabbed 10 rebounds, to lead Iran to a 74-69 triumph over Lebanon. The victory gave Iran the Asian championship and an invitation to the Olympics.

Lebanon will receive an invite to the Olympic qualifying tournament to be held next year. China is already in the Olympics as the host nation which is why China did not send its best players to contest for this title.

Mahammed Nikkha added 15 points and 6 rebounds for Iran. Rony Fahed scored 23 points for Lebanon, hitting 8 of 11 shots. Fadi El Khatib added 19 points but only hit 5 of 14 attempts. Ehadadi limited Lebanon star Joseph Vogel to 13 points. Vogel hit only 3 of 13 shots, missing all 6 of his three-pointers. Vogel grabbed 6 rebounds.

Former NBA-player Ha Seung Jin outplayed young Anton Ponomarev to lead Korea to an 80-76 triumph over Kazakhstan. The win puts Korea into the Olympic qualifying tournament to be held next year.

Ha had 25 points on 10 of 14 shooting before fouling out in 35 minutes. He also grabbed 7 rebounds and made 2 steals. Ponomarev had 16 points on 6 of 16 shooting but only made 1 of 9 three-pointers. He grabbed 6 rebounds but fouled out in 33 minutes.

Kim Joo-Sung scored 18 points for Korea and Rustam Yargaliyew added 14 points for Kazakhstan.

Ehadadi scored 13.4 points and 9.6 rebounds in this tournament. With his youth and inexperience, Ehadadi has a definite upside. He could be attractive to top-level European teams. Ha Seung-Jin, with his NBA training, averaged 17.3 points and 9.1 rebounds. So Ehadadi outrebounded Ha. Ponomarev averaged 17.6 points and 7.1 rebounds, but is three years younger than Ehadadi and Ha. Vogel averaged 17.4 points and 8.9 rebounds but turns 34 this month and is on the downside of his career.

Jordan secured fifth place in the tournament with a 97-74 triumph over Chinese Taipei behind 24 points, on 10 of 15 shooting, and 13 rebounds from Zaid Abbaas.

Qatar defeated Japan 86-82 to gain seventh place in the tourney. Yaseen Musa led Qatar with 18 points and 9 rebounds while Saad Abdulrahman Ali had 13 points and 15 rebounds.

This tournament marked the first time that a West Asian team won the Asian championship. Previous tournment winners were Eastern nations China, Korea and the Philippines. West Asian teams finished first, second, fifth and seventh in this tourney and consistently outplayed the East Asian countries for the first time.

Of course the top Chinese players were not here. If China had sent the team that finished second in the Stankovic Cup, it likely would have won this tournament with a margin of victory similar to what it achieved in 2005, even without Yao Ming. West Asia is rapidly improving in basketball but so is China. China has a much larger population than all of West Asia combined, not to mention ethnic characteristics that give it group advantages in quickness, jumping ability and body control that offset group disadvantages in height and bulk.

Final Standings
1. Iran
2. Lebanon
3. Korea
4. Kazakhstan
5. Jordan
6. Chinese Taipei
7. Qatar
8. Japan
9. The Philippines
10. China
11. Syria
12. Indonesia
13. Hong Kong
14. Kuwait
15. India
16. United Arab Emirates

Iran--- 21 19 16 18 74
Lebanon 19 15 20 15 69
Box Scores

Kazakhstan 25 16 14 21 76
Korea----- 23 19 19 19 80
Box Scores

Chinese Taipei 19 12 13 30 74
Jordan-------- 19 22 27 29 97
Box Scores

Japan 22 16 19 25 82
Qatar 17 17 15 37 86
Box Scores

  Sixth place finish for Taiwan in Asian Championship - Aug. 5, 2007 
Taiwan lost to Jordan 97-74 in its final game in the 2007 Asian Championship and finished sixth place in the tournament. It's not a good result, but it's Taiwan's best Asian Chamiponship finish since 2001.


In the championship game, Hamed Ehadadi had 31 points and 10 rebounds and led Iran to a 74-69 victory over West Asia foe Lebanon. Iran won its first ever Asian Championship title and a ticket to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Jordan, which broke open the game after 15 minutes, was led by Zaid Abbas' 24 points and 13 rebounds. Zaid Alkhas had 15 points. Enver Soobzokov added 14 and Sam Daghlas had 12.

Chen Hsin-an had 13 points for Taiwan, which ranked 11th in 2003 and 9th in 2005. Lin Yi-huei had 12 points. Chen Shih-nian and Lee Chi-yi each scored 11 points while Wu Dai-hao had 10 points and 5 boards.

Taiwan was 3-5 in the tournament, head coach Chung Kwang-suk's first major tournament with the team since taking over in May. It remained to be seen whether the CTBA will keep Chung, an experienced Korea veteran, after the tournament.

For the whole tournament, Taiwan has been short-handed due to injuries and untimely suspensions. Tien Lei, Chen Chih-chun, Su Yi-chieh and Ho Sho-jen all sat out because of various injuries. Starting center Tsun Wen-din was added to the injured list after the Jones Cup.

Wu Dai-hao became the lone big man on the roster. Chung was forced to move Chen Hsin-an to the power forward position and Lin Chih-jay as the small forward. Feeling the pressure of the short tournament, Chung played his starters for almost the entire game in most games and drew criticism back home from some observers and press.

Still, Taiwan NT had its best finish since 2001, when it ranked 7th. Relatively speaking, Chung successfully installed an inside-outside system and make Taiwan more than a three-point shooting team. Wu and Lin, both of whom have been ignored by former NT head coach Lee Yung-kwang, blossomed because of the change. Taiwan's zone defense also saw improvement.

Which is why I think CTBA should keep Chung as the NT head coach. He got the O.K. sixth place finish and improved the overall toughness and performance of the team.

**Taiwan NT game-by-game (3W-5L):
Beat Syria, 90-66
Lost to Korea, 70-85
Beat Hong Kong, 98-81
Lost to Iran, 64-76
Lost to Lebanon, 64-95
Lost to Qatar, 74-87
Beat Japan, 85-80
Lost to Jordan, 74-97

5/6 place: Jordan 97-74 Taiwan
7/8 place: Qatar 86-82 Japan
3/4 place: Korea 80-76 Kazakhstan
Championship: Iran 74-69 Lebanon

**Final placing:
1. Iran
2. Lebanon
3. Korea
4. Kazakhstan
5. Jordan
6. Taiwan
7. Qatar
8. Japan
9. Philippines
10. China
11. Syria
12. Indonesia
13. Hong Kong
14. Kuwait
15. India
16. UAE

(photo source: apple daily and

Wu tried to stop Sakuragi.

Daoud choked Lin Chih-jay.

Both Lin and Daoud were ejected and suspended for one game.
  Taiwan to play for fifth after beating Japan - Aug. 4, 2007 
Chen Hsin An (196-G/F-80) had 26 points and 9 rebounds and Wu Dai-hao had 22 points and 8 rebounds as Taiwan edged host Japan 85-80 Saturday and will meet Jordan Sunday for the fifth place in the 2007 Asian Championship. Win or lose, Taiwan is guaranteed to have its best finish in the tournament in the past six years.

In fact, the game was for Taiwan to lose as the second leading scorer on the team, Lin Chih-jay, was suspended for throwing a punch at Qatar's Daoud Daoud in the previous game. Both were suspended for one game.

Starting center Tsun Wen-din was called for his 4th foul early in the second period. He was replaced by Lee Chi-yi and never played since.

Taiwan, which trailed by two at halftime, changed the momentum of the game in the third quarter and took the lead. A 27-of-33 performance on the free-throw line helped Taiwan to put down Japan's furious rally in the last three minutes.

Head coach Chung Kwang-suk once again decided to let his starters finish off the game. Chen Hsin An, Wu Dai-hao, Lee Hsueh-lin and Yang Che-yi all played 40 minutes. Yang had 14 points in the game and Lee had 12.

Japan suffered another setback following a disappointing loss to Jordan. J.R. Sakuragi and Tomoo Amino each scored 15 points. Veteran SG Takehimo Orimo added 14 while Joji Takeuchi had 11. Japan was outrebounded 33-24 and outscored 27-10 on the free-throw line.

Taiwan will meet Jordan, which beat Qatar 77-67 Saturday, tomorrow in the 5/6 place game. Japan has to play Qatar for the 7th place.

In the semifinals, Lebanon beat Korea 76-74 and Iran jumped on Kazakhstan early for a 75-62 win. Lebanon will meet Iran in the championship game while Kazakhstan will meet Korea for bronze on the final day of the tournament.
Game results:
9/10 place game: Philippines 78-76 China
11/12 place game: Syria 108-79 Indonesia
13/14 place game: Hong Kong 72-66 Kuwait
15/16 place game: India 82-77 UAE
Taiwan 85-80 Japan
Jordan 77-67 Qatar
Lebanon 76-74 Korea
Iran 75-62 Kazakhstan

  Did you hear this BFI? - Aug. 4, 2007 
The president of the Federation of International Basketball Association Bob Elphinston has urged the basketball fraternity of India to wake quickly and promote the game in India. He said the opportunity at the moment is endless and the Basketball federation of India should make most of it.
In an interview with the official website of the 24th FIBA Asia Championship on Saturday, Elphinston said the time is right for the BFI to launch the professional league and it would help them no end to catch up with the rest of the Asian countries.
“FIBA wants to see increased efforts from India. The country represents a wonderful opportunity for basketball with a huge population and emerging living style within the country. We know that the game is very popular, but we are yet to see them delivering on the court,” he said.
India finished 15th in the continent's showpiece event which had 16 teams in the fray. Elphinston also suggested that the better level of organisation across the country would help turn things around. “I took a time out from my hectic schedule and watched the Indians playing here. The World standard shows that India is way behind. They now have an excellent coach in Alekander Bucan. The Serbian will be a great influence, but the players need to be stronger and conditioning levels should be higher and importantly we want to see the professional league formed in India as early as possible which will improve the quality provide a platform for the best players to compete against each other,” said Elphinston.

  Japan loses to Taiwan, headed for worst showing since '93 - Aug. 4, 2007 
Japan lost a heartbreaker to Taiwan on Saturday (8/4) 85-80 in Tokushima at the FIBA Asia Championship to send Japan to a 7th or 8th place finish, depending on the outcome of their game on Sunday (8/5) against Qatar. Japan's worst ever finish at the Asian Championships was a 7th place showing at the tournament in 1993, so they are assured of at least tying that dubious record.

Japan's best player at the tournament so far, shooting guard Takuya Kawamura, was cold against Taiwan (Chinese Taipei), managing only 3 points on 1-for-7 shooting from 3-point range. Swingman Tomoo Amino (195-F/G-80) has his best performance of the tournament by scoring 15 points on 5-for-7 shooting from beyond the arc while the always consistent Takehiko Orimo had 14 points on 4-for-6 from 3-point range. J.R. Sakuragi had 15 points and 6 rebounds while Joji Takeuchi had 11 points for Japan, but it wasn't enough as they couldn't stop Taiwan's Tai-Hao Wu and Hsin-An Chen who had 22 points and 26 points respectively.

Japan will now face Qatar tomorrow (8/5) and will have to win the game in order to finish in 7th place. If they fail to win, they will finish in 8th place and be faced with their worst showing ever at the Asian Championships.

  China Loses to Philippines, Showing Its Deficiencies in Development - Aug. 4, 2007 
China lost to the Philippines today 78-76 to finish 10th at the Asian Championships in Tokushima, Japan. Li Ke (208-C-80) and Wu Qian each blew two free throws in the final minute to contribute to the loss. China was 0-4 in its games against competitive Asian teams in this tournament, including two losses to the Philippines.

But this is the second-best team that China can produce. Its best team, excluding Yao Ming, finished second in the Stankovic Cup, is competitive with top European teams, and could win a medal in next year's Olympics with the benefit of the home court advantage.

This large disparity in ability between its best players and its next-best players is more characteristic of a small country the size of Lithuania, not a country with 1.3 billion inhabitants. It strongly indicates that China is making very poor use of developing basketball players from its large population.

It speaks to the lack of competitive intensity in the CBA. Basketball used to be primarily a recreational game in China, and too often the CBA lapses back into the lack of intensity found in rec leagues.

China's junior players who are being groomed for competitive basketball must play the game with physical intensity and spend time in the weight room building their muscles. This includes players from high schools, whereas China gives too much emphasis to the sports academies. Basketball players often do not show their true worth until high school, especially perimeter players. Remember that Michael Jordan did not make his high school team in his sophomore year. Under the Chinese system, he likely would have been cut from top-level competitive basketball.

The lack of competitive intensity and weight training among junior players causes the wrong players to be advanced. Those who might benefit from weight training fail to make the cut in favor of others who, because of either their inadequate physique or lack of desire, will not improve sufficiently with advanced conditioning.

And China needs to know the ages of its junior players. Age matters. A player's age tells you who is likely to develop and who has reached the limits of his physical potential. Was Yu Chen, a 6-9 167 pound forward who played in the Nike Global Challenge born in 1990 or 1994? If he was born in 1994, he is an exceptional prodigy who is likely to fill out. If he was born in 1990, he is likely to be too thin to succeed in international basketball. If he was born in 1992, he is still a strong prospect but not a super-prodigy.

In today's game Zhang Kai (211-C-82) led China with 16 points on 8 of 10 shooting and 9 rebounds. But Zhang, who at 25 is getting his first international experience, fouled out in 25 minutes. Gu Liye had 4 points on 1 of 5 shooting, and 4 rebounds, in 5 minutes.

Point guard Han Shuo had 7 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 turnovers in 25 minutes. Yang Ming had 8 points, 2 rebounds and no assists or turnovers in 15 minutes.

Besides Zhang, Li Ke was the only Chinese player in double figures with 13 points and also had 2 rebounds and 3 assists. Perimeter players Chen Chen, Yi Li, Wang Yong and Bian Qiang shot a combined 9 of 27, showing their inability to handle the defensive intensity of the Philippines.

Power players Gu Liye, Wang Bo, and Wu Qian shot a combined 5 for 18 showing their inexperience in facing defensive pressure. Only Li Ke, who has experience with the national team, and Zhang Kai, who might possibly make the Olympic team next year, were able to hit their shots against the Philippines.

Dan Seigle led the Philippines with 20 points and 6 rebounds. Kelly Williams had 14 points and 8 rebounds. Pauliasi Taulava scored 13 points and grabbed 6 rebounds and Donaldo Hontiveras added 13 points.

Philippines 19 17 23 19 78
China------ 22 16 23 15 76
Box Scores

  Lebanon, Iran Reach Asian Championships Final - Aug. 4, 2007 
Lebanon and Iran reached the final of the Asian Championship with wins over Korea and Kazakhstan.

Fadi El Khatib (197-F-79, agency: Pro Management Agency) led Lebanon with 32 points in its 76-74 victory over Korea. Joseph Vogel had 18 points and 15 rebounds. Yun Ho-Young led Korea with 23 points. Ha Seung Jin had 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Iran jumped off to a 26-7 first quarter lead en route to a 75-62 triumph over Kazakhstan. It held young Anton Ponomarev to 4 points on 0 of 3 shooting and 3 rebounds in 22 minutes.

Mahdi Kamrany and Hamed Afagh each scored 14 points for Iran. 218 cm Hamed Ehadadi had 8 points and 13 rebounds. Mahammed Nikkha had 12 points and 6 rebounds. Dmitriy Korovnikov led Kazakhstan with 17 points.

Lebanon 23 13 24 16 76
Korea--- 15 26 13 20 74

Kazakhstan 7 12 18 25 62
Iran-------- 26 18 20 11 75

Syria vs Indonesia 108-79
Box Scores

India vs United Arab Emirates 82-77
Box Scores

Kuwait vs Hong Kong 66-72
Box Scores

Philippines vs China 78-76
Box Scores

Qatar vs Jordan 67-77
Box Scores

Japan vs Chinese Taipei 80-85
Box Scores

Lebanon vs Korea 76-74
Box Scores

Kazakhstan vs Iran 62-75
Box Scores

  Japan gets by Jordan, but fails to advance - Aug. 2, 2007 
The Japanese national team won a nail-biter against Jordan 71-68 on Thursday (8/2) in Tokushima in the FIBA Asia Championship, but they failed to advance to the final round as they finished 3rd in their group at 1 win and 2 losses. Kazakhstan, which beat Korea 75-73 on Thursday, will advance along with Korea. Kazakhstan will take on Iran in the next round and Korea will face Lebanon.

In their victory over Jordan, Japan was led by former UCLA standout J.R. Sakuragi (206-F-76, agency: Paris Global Sports, college: UCLA) (Henderson), who led Japan with 17 points and 8 rebounds. Guards Takehiko Orimo and Takuya Kawamura had 14 points and 11 points respectively. Orimo, the 37-year old steady veteran, shot 4-for-5 from beyond the arc while yound stud Kawamura, arguably Japan's MVP of the tournament so far, shot 3-for-6 from 3-point range. Young forward Kosuke Takeuchi scored 11 points to help lead Japan to victory.

The best Japan can finish in the tournament now is 5th place as they will play in the consolation round that will determine who will finish in 5th to 8th place.

  Yi, Sun, China Show Upside for NBA, Olympics - Aug. 2, 2007 
China today showed why it could win a medal at the 2008 Olympics with an 82-67 thrashing of the NBA D-League team in the Stankovic Cup. Handling pressure defense, China and the D-League each had 16 turnovers. China outrebounded the D-League 39-34.

Yi Jianlian (212-C/F-87) showed his upside today, scoring 28 points on 10 of 13 shooting and grabbing 15 rebounds. Sun Yue also showed why he was drafted. He scored 12 points on 5 of 6 shooting in 27 minutes. He had 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 1 block and 4 turnovers.

Wang Zhizhi had an excellent game with 19 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block, 1 steal and 3 turnovers. Let us hope Bayi is wise enough to let Wang play this year for Benetton Treviso in the top Italian league as this will help his performance in the 2008 Olympics. He will likely see substantial playing time for Benetton where he is more likely to be a little-used role-player if he accepts an NBA offer.

Ding Jinhui is continuing to show that he may be the best of the class of 1989 with 3 points and 2 rebounds in 17 minutes.

China finished second to Slovenia in the Stankovic Cup with a 3-2 record. Had this team competed in the Asian Championships, China would have done far better in the tournament. But the Stankovic Cup provided better competition to prepare for the Olympics.

China----- 20 24 22 16 82
D-League 17 19 15 16 67

China 82
Sun Yue 12p+2r+2s+1bl+4to, Liu Wei 12min+0p+2r, Wang Shipeng 9p(4/8)+5r+3a, Zhu Fangyu 6p(2/7)+2r, Yi Jianlian 28p(10/13)+15r+1to, Mo Ke 0p+2r+1a+1bl, Wang Zhizhi 19p(8/20)+7r+4a+1s+1bl+3to, Wang Lei 24min+5p(2/6)+1r+3a+0to, Ding Jinhui 17min+3p(0/1)+2r+2to+4fl
1 Slovenia---------4 1
2 China----------- 3 2
3 NBA D-League 3 2
4 Angola----------3 2
5 New Zealand- 2 3
6 Venezuela ----0 5

  Third straight loss for Taiwan in quarterfinals - Aug. 2, 2007 
Taiwan NT ran out of gas and dropped another game Thursday to Qatar 87-74, its third straight loss in the quarterfinal round. Taiwan finished 0-3 in Group E, losing all three games to its West Asia opponents Lebanon, Iran and Qatar, and will meet Japan in the next game.

If Taiwan beat Japan in the next game, it will earn an opportunity to play for the 5th place. If it loses, it will have to play for the seventh. Either way, it's going to be Taiwan's best finish in the Asian Championship since 2001.

Qatar is a familiar foe for Taiwan, which has met the Qatari in the Jones Cup during the last two years and in last year's Asian Games. Taiwan even routed Qatar a couple of times at home. Word was that Taiwan has found the winning formula against Qatar.

Which was not the case at all Thursday. Qatar led from start to finish and outscored the Taiwanese in every period en route to a convincing victory. Yasseen Ismail Musa led Qatar with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Ali Saad Abdulrahman had 20 points and Salem Oman added 15.

Taiwan was led by Chen Hsin-an's 18 points and 7 boards. Tsun Wen-din had his best game in the tournament with 15 points and 9 rebounds. Lee Chi-yi had 13 while Chen Shih-nian had 10. Wu Dai-hao, one of Taiwan's best performers in the tournament, went scoreless and fouled out in 14 minutes.

Lebanon, Iran, Kazakhstan and Korea became Asia's latest top four as Lebanon will meet Korea and Kazakhstan takes on Iran in the crossover semifinals.

Jordan, Japan, Taiwan and Qatar will play in the 5-8 classification games.

Quarterfinal round results:
Qatar 87-74 Taiwan
Kazakhstan 75-73 Korea
Lebanon 82-60 Iran
Japan 71-68 Jordan

Consolation round results:
Philippines 89-58 Kuwait
China 100-55 UAE
Syria 105-54 India
Indonesia 81-78 Hong Kong

Group Standings:
Group E
Lebanon 3-0
Iran 2-1
Qatar 1-2
Taiwan 0-3

Group F
Kazakhstan 2-1
Korea 2-1
Japan 1-2
Jordan 1-2

Group G
Philippines 3-0
Syria 2-1
Kuwait 1-2
India 0-3

Group H
China 3-0
Indonesia 2-1
Hong Kong 1-2UAE 0-3

  Chen Chen Leads China Over UAE - Aug. 2, 2007 
China defeated the United Arab Emirates in a mismatch 100-55 and will meet the Philippines Saturday for ninth place in the Asian Championships. Chen Chen (197-F-86), a pure shooter from Bayi, led China with 25 points hitting 7 of 8 3-pointers against the inept UAE defense. Lets see how well he does against the far superior Philippine defense.

Gu Liye (208-C/F-86) had another good game with 19 points on 6 of 8 shooting and 5 rebounds. Yi Li had 13 points and 7 rebounds and Wang Bo had 10 points and 5 rebounds. Wu Qian had 9 points and 5 rebounds in 11 minutes. Li Ke had 8 points and 7 rebounds in 17 minutes.

China------------------ 33 21 28 18 100
United Arab Emirates 13 15 17 10 55

  Kazakhstan Reaches Semi-Finals As Ponomarev Stars  - Aug. 2, 2007 
Kazakhstan defeated Korea today 75-73 to win the last spot in the semi-finals of the Asian Championship. Kazakhstan will face Iran on Saturday while Korea will play Lebanon. Young Anton Ponomarev (209-C-88) scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Kazakhstan. Ponomarev is an NBA prospect for the future and a prospect for top European clubs right now.

PHI vs KUW 89-58
Box Scores

CHN vs UAE 100-55
Box Scores

IND vs SYR 54-105
Box Scores

INA vs HKG 81-78
Box Scores

QAT vs TPE 87-74
Box Scores

KAZ vs KOR 75-73
Box Scores

IRI vs LIB 60-82
Box Scores

JOR vs JPN 68-71
Box Scores

1. LIB 3 0 267 192 6
2. IRI 2 1 231 233 5
3. QAT 1 2 242 259 4
4. TPE 0 3 202 258 3

1. KAZ 2 1 241 240 5
2. KOR 2 1 236 223 5
3. JPN 1 2 239 254 4
4. JOR 1 2 215 214 4

1. PHI 3 0 300 227 6
2. SYR 2 1 314 230 5
3. KUW 1 2 199 266 4
4. IND 0 3 191 281 3

1. CHN 3 0 295 171 6
2. INA 2 1 211 261 5
3. HKG 1 2 234 238 4
4. UAE 0 3 200 270 3

  Japan loses to Korea, now down 0-2 in Round 2 - Aug. 1, 2007 
Korea continued their domination of Japan by winning a close game 93-83 on Wednesday (8/1) night in Tokushima in the FIBA Asia Championship. Korea clearly has Japan's number as the win marks Korea's 9th consecutive victory over Japan in international play. Korea was paced by 29 points from Dong-Geun Yang and 21 points from Seung-Hyun Kim.

Japan's leading scorer was once again emerging star Takuya Kawamura who, along with J.R. Sakuragi (206-F-76, agency: Paris Global Sports, college: UCLA), led Japan with 17 points. Kawamura, a shooting guard, scored 17 points on 4-for-6 shooting from 3-point range while Sakuragi, a.k.a. J.R. Henderson, had 17 rebounds to go along with his 17 points. The former Toyota and now Rera Kamuy Hokkaido duo of Takehiko Orimo and Ryota Sakurai contributed with 12 points apiece.

Japan has not been eliminated from the tournament yet. However, it would be an understatement to say that their backs are against the wall. Japan is so far back against the wall that they can now feel every crevasse.

Japan now has to not only beat Jordan, but they need Kazakhstan to lose to Korea to set up a tie-breaker. If Japan beats Jordan and Korea does beat Kazakhstan, it would make it a 3-way tie for 2nd place with 3 teams at 1 win and 2 losses. The tie-breaker (points for, points against average) would then come into play.

  Lebanon eliminates Taiwan's semi hope - Aug. 1, 2007 
Chung Kwang-suk's hope of leading Taiwan NT back to the Asian Championship semifinals was crushed after a 95-64 blowout loss to Lebanon Wednesday, the second straight loss for Taiwan NT in the quarterfinal round.

The Lebanese dominated the game throughout. It enjoyed a comfortable 39-26 halftime lead and kept pushing the lead in the second half. Fadi El Khatib scored a game-high 28 points on 10 of 17 shooting and made all seven of his free-throws. Joseph Vogel and Brian Feghali each had 14 points while Jean Abdel-Nour had 13.

Taiwan, which played its worst game at the worst time, was led by Chen Hsin-an's 21 points. Lin Chih-jay followed with 15 points. Wu Dai-hao had 9.

By dropping two games in a row, Taiwan was out of the semifinals. But it's hard to blame head coach Chung, a Korean. Chung did not have much time to train the team, and he lost at least four injured players that all could have made the national team roster -- Chen Chih-chun, Ho Sho-jen, Su Yi-chieh and Tien Lei.

Keep in mind, that did not include Tsun Wen-din, who didn't play until the quarterfinal round but was a non-factor in the tournament.

Quarterfinal round results:
Jordan 82-73 Kazakhstan
Lebanon 95-64 Taiwan
Iran 95-87 Qatar
Korea 93-83 Japan

Consolation round results:
Philippines 104-69 India
China 102-47 Indonesia
Syria 109-69 Kuwait
Hong Kong 87-64 UAE









  China Defeats Indonesia 102-47 - Aug. 1, 2007 
Yi Li (204-F/G-87) scored 23 points and grabbed 7 rebounds as China defeated Indonesia 102-47 in the Asian Championship in Tokushima Japan. Yi Li was described as a power forward in the on-site game report and can play that position against weak teams such as Indonesia. He plays that position for Jiangsu in the CBA.

But horizontally-challenged Yi cannot play power forward against world-class competition or even against the better teams in Asia. Yi could probably be an excellent shooting guard if he were trained to play that position and could gain experience playing shooting guard in the CBA. This is why it is so important for China to send its young players to the weight room. Groomed as a power forward, Yi may never realize his potential in international competition where he might excel as a 6-9 shooting guard.

Gu Liye had another excellent game with 16 points and 8 rebounds. But he too must add bulk and muscle if he is to dominate inside against better teams.

Han Shuo had an excellent game at point guard with 11 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist and no turnovers in 20 minutes. Han could still prove to be the best point guard in the class of 1989 once he equals Liu Xiaoyu and Chen Jianghua in experience.

Chen Chen had 13 points and 2 rebounds and Wang Yong had 10 points and 1 rebound. Zhang Kai had 6 points and 5 rebounds in 13 minutes.

China leads Group H with a 2-0 record and faces the weak United Arab Emirates team tomorrow. It will very likely play the Philippines, which is 2-0 in Group G, for ninth place. It remains to be seen whether players like Yi, Gu, Chen and Wang can, with the experience they have gained, compete against the competent Philippines team. China lost to the Philippines in the preliminary round.
Box Scores

  Iran, Lebanon, Korea Earn Spots in Asian Championship Semi-Finals - Aug. 1, 2007 
Iran, Lebanon and Korea guaranteed themselves a place in the semi-finals with victories today in the Asian Championship. Jordan, Kazakhstan and Japan are all in contention for the fourth spot depending on results tomorrow. China blasted Indonesia 102-47 and will likely be facing the Philippines in a battle for ninth place bragging rights after each defeat weak opponents tomorrow.

India vs Philippines 69-104
Box Scores

Indonesia vs China 47-102
Box Scores

Syria vs Kuwait 109-69
Box Scores

Hong Kong vs United Arab Emirates 87-64
Box Scores

Kazakhstan vs Jordan 73-82
Box Scores

Chinese Taipei vs Lebanon 64-95
Box Scores

Qatar vs Iran 87-95
Box Scores

Korea vs Japan 93-83
Box Scores

Group E
1. LIB 2 0 185 132 4
2. IRI 2 0 171 151 4
3. QAT 0 2 155 185 2
4. TPE 0 2 128 171 2

1. KOR 2 0 163 148 4
2. JOR 1 1 147 143 3
3. KAZ 1 1 166 167 3
4. JPN 0 2 168 186 2

1. PHI 2 0 211 169 4
2. SYR 1 1 209 176 3
3. KUW 1 1 141 177 3
4. IND 0 2 137 176 2

1. CHN 2 0 195 116 4
2. HKG 1 1 156 157 3
3. INA 1 1 130 183 3
4. UAE 0 2 145 170 2

  Japan comes up short in loss to Kazakhstan - Jul. 31, 2007 
Japan put up a valiant effort but couldn't stop Kazakhstan's 3-headed monster of Anton Ponomarev, Yevgeniy Issakov, and Rustam Yargaliyew and lost by a score of 93-85 on Tuesday (7/31) in Tokushima in the FIBA Asia Championship. It was Japan's first defeat in their first 4 games of the tournament. Scoring machine Takuya Kawamura (191-G-86) was once again the leading scorer for Japan with 21 points on 7-for-12 shooting from beyond the arc while dependable veteran Takehiko Orimo has his usual solid game with 16 points on 4-for-6 shooting from 3-point range. Kosuke Takeuchi contributed with 11 points, but the big man only managed to grab 2 rebounds. J.R. Sakuragi chipped in with 10 points and 6 boards off the bench.

Japan never led during the game, but kept the game close throughout. Japan's defense let them down as they were unable to stop Ponomarev, Issakov, and Yargaliyew, who had 24 points, 20 points, and 23 points respectively.

Japan now faces an uphill battle in their quest to move on to the next round, which means that they will most likely have to win their next 2 games. They face rival Korea today (8/1) and will battle Jordan on Thursday (8/2).

  China Romps Over Hong Kong But Still Must Change Its Ways - Jul. 31, 2007 
Gu Liye (208-C/F-86) had 22 points and 6 rebounds to lead China to a 93-69 rout of Hong Kong in the Asian Championships in Tokushima, Japan. Chen Lei had 16 points and 4 rebounds and Yi Li had 12 points and 3 rebounds. Yang Ming and Han Shuo shared the point guard position, playing 20 minutes apiece. Han had 9 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals and 0 turnovers. Yang had 8 points, 2 assists, 2 steals and 1 turnover.

China showed it can still dominate lesser Asian teams with its not-so-elite players but these players cannot defeat the improving top-tier teams. If China adequately utilized its population advantage, its second-tier players should be able to beat the better Asian teams.

So China must still improve the conditioning of its players, especially on the junior level. It must cull its players after high school, not during elementary school, as you often cannot tell who is most talented in basketball at an early age. China too much tends to pick early-developers who grow fast and then stop. China must play the junior game with conditioning and intensity so that those who would be best at international-style basketball rise to the top. Right now there are too many players who excel only in the more-laid-back Chinese style.

China------- 21 28 20 24 93
Hong Kong 14 14 20 21 69
Box Scores

  Iran, Korea, Lebanon, Kazakhstan Win Quarterfinals Games, China Routs Hong Kong - Jul. 31, 2007 
Iran, Korea, Lebanon and Kazakhstan won quarterfinals games in the Asian Championship in Tokushima, Japan. China, Kuwait, the Philippines and Indonesia won matches in the consolation round for places 9-16. Links to box scores of all games appear below.

PHI vs SYR 107-100
Box Scores

CHN vs HKG 93-69
Box Scores

KUW vs IND 72-68
Box Scores

UAE vs INA 81-83
Box Scores

IRI vs TPE 76-64
Box Scores

JOR vs KOR 65-70
Box Scores

LIB vs QAT 90-68
Box Scores

JPN vs KAZ 85-93
Box Scores

Championship Groups
1. LIB 1 0 90 68 2
2. IRI 1 0 76 64 2
3. TPE 0 1 64 76 1
4. QAT 0 1 68 90 1

1. KAZ 1 0 93 85 2
2. KOR 1 0 70 65 2
3. JOR 0 1 65 70 1
4. JPN 0 1 85 93 1

Consolation Groups
1. PHI 1 0 107 100 2
2. KUW 1 0 72 68 2
3. IND 0 1 68 72 1
4. SYR 0 1 100 107 1

1. CHN 1 0 93 69 2
2. INA 1 0 83 81 2
3. UAE 0 1 81 83 1
4. HKG 0 1 69 93 1

  Iranian giant too tough to handle for Taiwan - Jul. 31, 2007 

Taiwan NT could not overcome Iran's height advantage and dropped its first game in the quarterfinal round to Iran, 76-64, Tuesday.

Iran's 7-2 center Hamed Hadadi had 17 points and 16 rebounds and Mohammed Nikkha had 22 points on 10-of-16 shooting as Iran broke open the game with a 16-2 run in the third quarter.

Taiwan, which was outrebounded 42-21, could do little with its zone defense to stop Hadadi and contain Iran's outside shooting at the same time. It is scheduled to meet Lebanon on Wednesday and Qatar on Thursday.

Head coach Chung Kwang-suk almost played his starting ineup for the entire first half and Taiwan was able to keep just one step behind Iran, trailing 37-34 at the half. However, the third-quarter lapse changed the whole game. Taiwan trailed by as many as 21 points.

Wu Dai-hao once again paced the team with 16 points (5-11 FG, 6-8 FT), 6 rebounds and two blocks. Chen Hsin-an also added 16 points and 5 boards. Yang Che-yi had 12 and Lin Chih-jay had 11.

204cm center Tsun Wen-din, who has been listed as day-to-day since the tournament started and did not play in the preliminary round, made his debut in the third quarter but looked rusty, going scoreless in 9 minutes.

Point guard Javad Davari also had 13 points for Iran, which advanced to the quarterfinal with a perfect 3-0 record in the Group A.

Quarterfinal results:
Iran 76-64 Taiwan
Lebanon 90-68 Qatar
Korea 70-65 Jordan
Kazakhstan 93-85 Japan

Consolation round results:
Philippines 107-100 Syria
China 93-69 Hong Kong
Kuwait 72-68 India
Indonesia 83-81 UAE


  Japan finishes off Kuwait easily to win all 3 games in Round 1 - Jul. 31, 2007 
Japan had an easy time defeating Kuwait in their 3rd and final game of Round 1 of the FIBA Asia Championship on Monday (7/30) in Tokushima. Japan had already clinched a berth in Round 2 by winning the first 2 games of the tournament, but they didn't let up and crushed Kuwai 101-48. Japan once again got a stellar performance from yound stud Takuya Kawamura (191-G-86) who had 18 points on 5-for-13 shooting from 3-point range. Kawamura, one of the few players to ever go straight from high school to the JBL, averaged 15.0 points per game in the first round of the tournament.

Steady veteran guard Takehiko Orimo contributed to Japan's victory with 13 points on 3-for-5 shooting from beyond the arc. Forward Joji Takeuchi, the other half of the Takeuchi twin towers, had his best game in a Japan uniform by scoring 22 points and grabbing 10 boards. Former NBA player J.R. Sakuragi, a.k.a. J.R. Henderson, came off the bench again to contribute 9 points and 4 rebounds.

Japan will start off Round 2 with a game on Tuesday (7/31) against Kazakhstan. They will then face rival Korea on Wednesday and then will take on Jordan on Thursday to complete the round.

  China Can't Handle Iran Inside in 77-68 Loss - Jul. 30, 2007 
Completely losing concentration in the third quarter, being outscored 26-13, China's B team lost to Iran 77-68 in the Asian Championship. This was China's third straight lost and it finished an ignominious last in Group A. It will face Hong Kong tomorrow in the relegation round.

Iran outrebounded China 38-21 as this team could not handle the physicality of international basketball. This shows how far the CBA must go to improve its style of play and the conditioning of its second-tier players. China had only 19 turnovers to 22 for Iran but its inability to handle Iran's inside physicality showed in its rebounding disadvantage and its 40.7 percent two-point shooting percentage compared to a 63.6 percent two-point shooting percentage for Iran.

Bian Qiang (192-G-79) led China with 15 points on 4 of 8 shooting. Chen Chen (197-F-86) had 13 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 4 turnovers. Yang Ming (194-G-87), at point guard, has 11 points on 3 of 9 shooting, 1 assist and 2 turnovers in 24 minutes. Han Shuo (198-G-89) (198-G-89) had 5 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 turnovers in 16 minutes. 211 cm Zhang Kai (211-C-82) had 8 points on 1 of 3 shooting in 32 minutes. He had 3 rebounds, all on the offensive end. He had no defensive rebounds in 32 minutes.

Box Scores

Iran-- 17 16 26 18 77
China 12 21 13 22 68

  Iran, Japan, Qatar, Korea Win Groups -- Jordan, Lebanon, Kazakhstan, Taipei Also Advance - Jul. 30, 2007 
Iran, Japan, Qatar and Korea were undefeated in winning group titles and Jordan, Lebanon, Kazakhstan and Taipei also advanced to the quarterfinals. Links to box scores appear below. Defending champion China, playing its inept B squad, lost its third straight game, falling to Iran 77-68.

India 72 Indonesia 66
Lebanon 106 United Arab Emirates 64
Korea 89 Syria 79
Taipei 98 Hong Kong 81
Qatar 76 Kazakhstan 69
Iran 77 China 68
Jordan 84 Philippines 76
Japan 101 Kuwait 48

Lebanon-United Arab Emirates
Box Scores
Box Scores
Chinese Taipei-Hong Kong
Box Scores
Box Scores
Box Scores
Box Scores
Box Scores
Box Scores
Group A
1. IRI 3 0 212 191 6
2. JOR 2 1 216 201 5
3. PHI 1 2 224 233 4
4. CHN 0 3 207 234 3

1. JPN 3 0 287 181 6
2. LIB 2 1 277 200 5
3. UAE 1 2 199 283 4
4. KUW 0 3 175 274 3

1. QAT 3 0 268 163 6
2. KAZ 2 1 273 203 5
3. IND 1 2 195 269 4
4. INA 0 3 164 265 3

1. KOR 3 0 281 216 6
2. TPE 2 1 258 232 5
3. HKG 1 2 252 305 4
4. SYR 0 3 245 283 3

  Day 3 report.... - Jul. 30, 2007 
- Group A:

Jordan - Philippines

Jordan adapted the wait-and-watch policy to almost perfection as they outthought, outwitted and eventually outscored a charged up, but error-prone, Philippines 84-76 in the make-or-break Group 'A' encounter on Monday.

"I think we defended rather well in the third and final quarter," said Jordan coach Mario Palma.

"Also I think we were helped by some of their wayward shooting. I was a little shocked to see those shots, but I'm not complaining," the Portuguese added.

Philippines began rather confidently, with the speedy Mark Anthony Caguioa and the tall Pauliasi Taulava controlling the proceedings. The scoreboard was ticking at regular intervals, the defense seemed to hold itself and much to the joy of their fans Philippines seemed to be on a roll.

All that changed like the cliched bolt from the blue, as Jordan, slowly but surely took charge. Rasheim Wright, who had been pushed into the oblivion by the Filipino rampage, started to call the shots. Sam Daghles and Zaid Alkhas moved, and succeeded, with customary cohesion and Jordan were truly back, and in style.

Where Jordan kept improving, Philippines' graph went on a nose-dive. A couple of fortuituous long rangers - some of them by Jim Alapag from almost near the center-line raised Philippines' hopes, but by then Jordan had wrapped the game under their control.

"I think we lost it when we went ahead 18-13 at the end of the first quarter. Better off to trail and bounce back than go ahead and get complacent," said Philippines coach Vincent 'Chot' Reyes.

Jordan 84 (Rasheim Wright 24, Sam Daghles 22, Zaid Alkhas 16) bt Philippines 76 (Pauliasi Talava 14, Jim Alapag 10). Quarterwise: 13-18, 35-33, 54-51.

Iran - China

Hamed Ehadadi's powerplay in the second half made all the difference as Iran propelled their way to top of Group 'A' with a 77-68 win over China on Monday.

Having warmed the bench for the first two quarters, Ehadadi took to the court only at the start of the third.

And immediately got into the act, powering his way with a drive-in following it up with a silken sink from just inside the three-pointer line. He continued his influence, totaling 18 points, but more importantly collected eight rebounds despite his curtailed stay.

Those rebounds - four each defensive and offensive - along with keeping the pressure under the rival post, restricted the second shot opportunities for the Chinese.

As a result, Iran played a lot more fluently than they had earlier to canter through.

"He (Ehadadi) made a huge difference," said Iran coach Toroman Rajko.

"We went in to the match with a three-point agenda," the Serbian said.

"First, we wanted to win. Second, we wanted to give a rest to our key players, considering we had played two tight games and we have many more. Thirdly, we wanted to give our bench strength a serious try," he elaborated.

"And I think we achieved all of that."

Iran 77 (Aidin Nekkah 19, Hamed Ehadadi 18) bt China 68 (Bian Qiang 15, Chen Chen 13). Quarterwise: 17-12, 33-33, 59-46.

- Group B:

Lebanon - UAE

Last edition's runners-up Lebanon exorcized the ghosts of Sunday's shock defeat, with a rather perfunctory 106-64 win against the United Arab Emirates to wrap up their Group 'B' engagements on Monday.

"We had to get back into our rhythm. When you lose a tight game, it's not always easy to get your focus back in less than a day," said Lebanon coach Dragan Raca.

"That way I'm glad we didn't make too many mistakes," the Greek-Cypriot added.

Asked if he had set any specific margin of victory, Raca replied: "This is a Championship. And they are not some pushovers. I was worried if my players would get carried away. Luckily, they didn't."

"So there was no question of setting any targets. The only target was to play properly and win the match. I think we achieved that," the 44-year-old said.

"Matches will definitely get tougher, and we need to play them in quick succession. There's going to be no time to breathe even," he said.

Raca's counterpart, and a very close friend, Zoran Zupcevic, said: "Like I said earlier, our real challenge begins tomorrow." UAE are aiming to finish higher their previous best 10th place ranking -- at Fukuoka 1999 and Shanghai 2001.

"Any experience can only help us in our development," the Bosnian added.

Lebanon 106 (Fadi El-Khatib 37, Joseph Vogel 14, Omar El-Turk 13) bt UAE 64 (Jassim Haji 15, Talal Alnuaimi 13). Quarterwise: 34-3, 57-31, 88-50.

Japan - Kuwait

Hosts Japan brought the curtain down on the preliminary league of the Championship, beating Kuwait 101-48, on Monday.

"We are happy we could keep the momentum going into the quarterfinals," said Japan coach Kimikazu Suzuki.

"It was also a good opportunity to get all the players a feel of the court," he added.


Japan 101 (Joji Takeuchi 22, Takuya Nawamura 18) bt Kuwait 48 (Sulaiman Altabakh 8). Quarterwise: 18-14, 47-17, 75-32.

- Group C:

Qatar - Kazakhstan & India - Indonesia

Ali Saad dazzled with his shooting and Qatar topped Group 'C' with a 76-69 win over Kazakhstan on Monday. The 22-year-old point guard top scored the match with 25 points, converting all the four free-throws he earned along with sinking all the seven three-point attempts he made, as Qatar capitalized and powered ahead.

"Of course that kind of a performance doesn't happen every day," beamed Qatar coach Edward Andrist. "We knew we were up against the toughest opponents so far, in all sense, but when someone comes up with that kind of a shooting record, it makes it easy," the American added.

"Kazakhstan posed a lot of problems, which we had expected. Given their size, speed and skills we were not surprised at all. But we had worked out our plan, and it worked. We were quick on their screens and the shooters. We also defended our post rather well. That was the key," he said.

Kazakhstan kept themselves in the race, but once their mainstay Anton Ponomarev was fouled out and the other key Yevgeniy Issakov ran into foul trouble, their task got that much tougher.

"It was a part of our strategy," Andrist said. "To keep our players on the court and theirs off it, was a part of our plan."

Kazakh coach Vitaliy Strebkov too observed that the foul factor played a crucial role. "Our team did struggle once Ponomarev went out and Issakov gathered four."

"Nevertheless, we have qualified. Now we are looking ahead."

India win

In another match in the same group, with no implication on the qualification race, India posted their maiden win, rallying to beat Indonesia 72-66.

Qatar 76 (Ali Saad 25, Yasseen Musa 15) bt Kazakhstan 69 (Yevgeniy Issakov 15, Anton Ponomarev 14). Quarterwise: 17-17, 40-30, 56-49.

India 72 (Riyazuddin 17, Jagdeep Singh 16, Trideep Rai 15) bt Indonesia 66 (Youbel Sondakh 14, Welly Situmorang 13). Quarterwise: 21-18, 36-41, 52-55.

- Group D:

South Korea - Syria

Korea carved out a clinical victory against Syria at the Municipal Gym to keep their slate clean.

Spearhead Ha Seung-Jin was used only sparsely, but in the time he was on the court, the Milwaukee Bucks center wreaked enough havoc, scoring 16 points and collecting a staggering 12 rebounds, to dent the rivals' morale.

Kim Joo-Sung looked stylish, while top scoring the game, to provide the necessary support to Ha.

Korea 89 (Kim Joo-Sung 17, Ha Seung-Jin 16, Daniel Robert Sandrin 12) bt Syria 79 (Mohamad Alsaman 20, Micheal Madanly 16). Quarterwise: 27-17, 47-34, 75-52.

Chinese Tipei - Hong Kong

East Asian powerhouse Chinese Taipei posted a business-like 98-81 win against Hong Kong to book their place in the Quarterfinal round, even as Korea remained as one of the unbeaten teams, with an 89-win triumph over Syria, on Monday.

Taipei didn't waste much time in getting into the top gear. Wu Tai-Ho - who top scored with 24 points along with five assists and four rebounds - and Lin Chih-Chieh who matched him in almost every move put Taipei on the road to their destination, the latter adding some precise perimeter shooting to the cohesive inside successes.

"We were far better in getting our balance today," said Taipei coach Chung Kwak-Suk said.

"I was not impressed with our inside shooting yesterday. But I think we got a real good mix of both. That should give us confidence going into the next rounds," said the coach of Korean origin.

Taipei 98 (Wu Tai-Ho 24, Lin Chih-Chieh 23, Chen Hsin-An 17) bt Hong Kong 81 (Li Kim Wong 18, Lo Yi Ting 12). Quarterwise: 29-15, 56-35, 76-56.

S Mageshwaran
Courtesy of FIBA Asia

  Lebanon, Taiwan and Jordan advance - Jul. 30, 2007 
Lebanon, Taiwan and Jordan on Monday advanced to the second round of the Asian men's basketball championship, keeping their Olympic dreams alive for 2008. Lebanon overwhelmed the United Arab Emirates 106-64, with Fadi Elkhatib pouring on 37 points, as the team finished second in Group B. In Group D, Taiwan beat Hong Kong 98-81, while Jordan defeated the Philippines in Group A with both taking the second place.
The three squads join South Korea, Japan, Kazakhstan, Qatar and Iran, who secured their places in the second round on Sunday.
The biggest surprise came from four-time defending champions China, who have not missed a medal since 1975 winning 14 times. They lost to Iran 77-68 to finish with three straight defeats at the bottom in Group A.
In Group C, India gained their first win 72-66 over Indonesia, but it came too late with Qatar and Kazakhstan, who play each other later Monday, already assured of the top two places.
Sixteen countries were divided into four groups for the preliminary round and the top two from each group advanced to the second stage.
The tournament winners qualify for the Beijing Olympics next year. The two best finishers, other than Olympic hosts China and the winners, will be eligible for the final Olympic qualifying round next July.

Group A
Iran 77 China 68
Jordan 84 Philippines 76
Group B
Lebanon 106 UAE 64
Group C
India 72 Indonesia 66
Qatar 76 Kazakhstan 69
Group D
Taiwan 98 Hong Kong 81
South Korea 89 Syria 79

Standings (played, win, lose, points)
Group A
1. Iran 3 3 0 6
2. Jordan 3 2 1 5
3. Philippines 3 1 2 4
4. China 3 0 3 3

Group B
1. Libya 3 2 1 5
2. Japan 2 2 0 4
3. UAE 3 1 2 4
4. Kuwait 2 0 2 2

Group C
1. Qatar 3 3 0 6
2. Kazakhstan 3 2 1 5
3. India 3 1 2 4
4. Indonesia 3 0 3 3

Group D
1. South Korea 3 3 0 6
2. Taiwan 3 2 1 5
3. Hong Kong 3 1 2 4
4. Syria 3 0 3 3

  Al-Khatib Leads Lebanon to 2nd Round - Jul. 30, 2007 
TOKUSHIMA (FIBA Asia Championship) - Fadi El Khatib (197-F-79, agency: Pro Management Agency) led last years runner ups, Lebanon, into the 2nd round in style. Lebanon defeated UAE 106-64. Fadi led Lebanon with 37 points and 14 rebounds, probably the best all around game in the tournament this far. Joe Vogel (211-C-73, agency: Pro Management Agency, college: Colorado St.), Fadi's running mate, had an 'off' game (if you want to call it that) with 14 points and 6 boards. UAE were led by none other than their leader, Jasim Abdulredha (188-G-81), with 15 points. Talal Salem (185-G-88) finished with 13 points for UAE.

After a great fight, UAE finishes 3rd in Group B and heads home. Lebanons victory allows UAE to head home, finishing the tournament 1-2. Kuwait will also be heading back, finishing the tournament 0-3. That would mean that the very strong Lebanese team and the determined Japanese team will be headed to the 2nd round.

With the way Fadi Al Khatib is playing, every team should be very concerned that he does not blow up for another game like this again or else the championship is coming to Lebanon.

  Taiwan back to Asian Championship quarterfinal - Jul. 30, 2007 
It's not an achievement at all, but Taiwan Men's NT is finally back in the elite eight in the Asian Men's Basketball Championship after a long hard six years. The last time Taiwan was in the quarterfinals was in 2001, when it ranked 7th in the tournament.

Led by center Wu Dai-hao's 24 points, Taiwan beat Hong Kong 98-81 in its final prelim and wrapped up the preliminary round with a 2-1 record and advanced to the quarter as the No. 2 seed in Group D along with group leader Korea, which was 3-0 after defeating Syria 89-79.

Taiwan dominated the game and never gave Hong Kong a chance. Wu made 10 of 13 shots en route to another solid performance of 24 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists. SBL regular season and Finals MVP Lin Chih-jay had 23 points on 7-of-14 shooting.

Chen Hsin-an added 17 points and 7 boards while Yang Che-yi had 11 points and 5 rebounds. Taiwan almost made 70 percent of its two-pointers and had 11 threes in the game.

Hong was led by Li Kim Wong's 18 points. Lo Yi Ting had 12 while Fong Shing Yee added 10.

Taiwan was 7th in the 2001 Asian Championship but fell to an all-time worst 11th place in 2003. In 2005 it ranked 9th.

Making the quarterfinal will be the first step for newly-hired Korean head coach Chung Kwang-suk, who had said he hoped to lead Taiwan to the semifinals when he took over the team and replaced former head coach Lee Yung-kwang.

Wu Dai-hao averaged for 18 points, 6 rebounds and 2.3 assists after three games and has been successfully filled the void left by the absence of two injured big men Tsun Wen-din and Tien Lei.

Lin Chih-jay also averaged for 18 points to go with 6.3 rebounds. Chen Hsin-an is averaging 17 points and 6.3 rebounds. Yang Che-yi averaged for 15.7 points. These four players had accounted for almost 80 percent of Taiwan's scoring.

The one question remained before the second round: Will injured Tsun Wen-din play? Tsun's presence will take a lot of pressure off of Wu Dai-hao and Chen Hsin-an, who was forced to switched to the power forward position.

  China Relegated to Consolation Round With 79-74 Loss to Philippines - Jul. 29, 2007 
China was relegated to the consolation round of the Asian Championship with a 79-74 loss to the Philippines. China led 48-38 after the first half but was outscored 18-8 in the third quarter and 23-17 in the fourth. Iran leads Group A with a 2-0 record, Japan leads group B at 2-0, Qatar and Kazakhstan are both 2-0 in Group C and Korea is 2-0 in Group D.

So China's lack of depth, the effect of the absence of sufficient intensity and sufficient conditioning in CBA play, is apparent. China is a nation of 1.3 billion and should have depth as well as a talented elite. That is simple statistics. So China is not utilizing its population efficiently in developing basketball players. It will do much better as it learns to use the vastness of its population and makes final decisions on who is best at basketball after high school rather than while kids are in elementary school. There is likely far too much emphasis on the sports academies where athletes are selected early.

Wang Bo led China today with 14 points on 5 of 8 shooting. Yang Ming had 3 points and 3 rebounds and fouled out in 9 minutes. He could not handle the intensity of Jimmy Alapag (178-G-77, college: Cal.St.-San Bernar.) the point guard of the Philippines, owing to lack of intensity in the CBA. Alapag had 25 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists in 27 minutes to lead the Philippines.

Yi Li had 14 points and 5 rebounds for China. Li Ke had 13 points and 5 rebounds. Bian Qiang had 10 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists. Zhang Kai had 9 points, 2 rebounds and 4 personal fouls in 15 minutes. Han Shuo played 25 minutes at point guard and had 3 points on 1 of 4 shooting. He had 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 turnover.

Box Scores

Philippines 19 19 18 23 79
China ------25 24 8 17 74

Iran 60 Jordan 54
Japan 77 Lebanon 67
United Arab Emirates 69 Kuwait 68
Qatar 86 Indonesia 45
Kazakhstan 97 India 74
Hong Kong 104 Syria 100
Korea 85 Taipei 70

1. IRI 2 0 135 123 4
2. JOR 1 1 132 125 3
3. PHI 1 1 148 149 3
4. CHN 0 2 139 157 2


1. JPN 2 0 186 133 4
2. LIB 1 1 171 136 3
3. UAE 1 1 135 177 3
4. KUW 0 2 127 173 2

1. QAT 2 0 192 94 4
2. KAZ 2 0 204 127 4
3. IND 0 2 123 203 2
4. INA 0 2 98 193 2

1. KOR 2 0 192 137 4
2. TPE 1 1 160 151 3
3. HKG 1 1 171 207 3
4. SYR 0 2 166 194 2

  Jordan shocks China in FIBA-Asia  - Jul. 28, 2007 
  Jordan has started the FIBA-Asia Championship (Tokushima, Jordan 28 JUL - 5 AUG) with a big win over China 78-65 before few hours in the oppening game of Group A.

Nashama's players were in the better side in 1st quarter despite being behind at the end of it 17-18 by a shot from Ming Yang, Rasheim Wright (193-G-81, agency: 123 Podium, college: District of Columbia) scored in this quarter 10 points.

Islam Abbas's explosive performance esspecially in defense helped Jordan to take the lead from the beginning of 2nd quarter which were played most of it with jordanian bench players Wissam Sous, Fadel Najjar and Zeid Abbas, All of them were adding a big help for Sam Daghlas and Zaid Al Khas to end the quarter leading 35-30, Chinese players tried their best in this quarter to stay in the game's atmosphere esspecially from Qian Wu and Ke Li.

Third quarter was the key of the jordanian win after they succeeded to increase the margin to 11 points 60-49 thanks to Wright and Al Khas who scored most of his point in it, Adding to the continious huge perfromance from Islam Abbas in rebounding and Daghlas in smart assists, Chinese players had suffered from foul trouble so much which added more pressure on the keys Yang and Lei.

Li Yi began the 4rth quarter with 4 consecutive points and that gave the chinese the willing to win again, But quickly Jordan's coach Mario Palma found the strategy and the way for keeping the range, Wright was the star of the last quarter after scoring most of the team's point to lead the game which ended 78-65 in scoring with 31 points.

Jordan 78 - China 65 (Q's: 17-18, 35-30, 60-49 & 78-65)

- Top scorers:
Rasheim Wright (JOR) 31
Zaid Al Khas (JOR) 22
Ming Yang (CHN) 15
Islam Abbas (JOR) 8

- Top rebounders:
Islam Abbas (JOR) 17
Zaid Al Khas (JOR) 8
Kai Zhang (JOR) 7
Ming Yang (CHN) 4

- Top Assist:
Sam Daghlas (JOR) 4
Ming Yang (CHN) 3
Fadel Najjar (JOR) 2
Rasheim Wright (JOR) 2

- Other games results of day 1:
Qatar 106 - India 49
Kazakhstan 107 - Indoneseia 53
South Korea 107 - Hong Kong 67
Syria 66 - Chinese Tipei 90
UAE - Japan
Iran - Philippines
Lebanon - Kuwait

  2007 Asian cage war nears end - Jul. 27, 2007 
Finally, the end of the 2007 Asian cage war is drawing near.

The Asian conqueror will be known in just few days.

Cage armies from China, Jordan, Iran, Philippines, Qatar, Kazakhstan, India, Indonesia, Lebanon, Japan, Kuwait, UAE, Syria, Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong are already placed into battle position and just waiting their turn in the battle city of Tokushima.

The Asian conqueror will be set to battle the world's best in the 2008 Olympic Basketball War.

Good luck to all competing nations and let the final battle begin!!!

  China dispatches second-string squad for Asian Basketball Championship - Jul. 26, 2007 
Defending champion China will send a second-string national team to compete in the Asian Basketball Championships (ABC) in Japan next week.

The first team will compete in the Stankovic Continental Champions Cup in Guangdong, almost the same period as the ABC, which starts on July 28.

Without a national player, the Chinese team does not expect to reign in the championship.

"The strongest opponents come from West Asia, like Lebanon and Qatar," head coach Adijiang said on Wednesday. "The Philippines has become a challenge too since it introduced some former American professional players."

The Chinese squad has no advantage inside the key as pivots like Yao Ming, Yi Jianlian and Wang Zhizhi are in the first team.

"Actually we have no center in this squad and our guards are smaller than the West Asians. It'll be a tough journey," Adijiang said.

All-Star point guard Zhang Qingpeng was cut from the squad a couple of days ago because of the lack of inside players.

"This could be one of the toughest Asian championships for China," Adijiang added.


Head coach: Adijiang

Assistant coach: Wu Qinglong, Zhang Xiaochun

Players: Wang Bo, Li Ke, Chen Lei, Bian Qiang, Yang Ming, Yi Li, Chen Chen, Han Shuo, Wang Yong, Gu Liye, Zhang Kai, Wu Qian.

Credits to China Daily

  Japan NT roster for the Asian Championship - Jul. 23, 2007 
JAPAN NATIONAL SQUAD (for FIBA Asia Championship in Tokushima, with each player's jersey number listed first):

4. Takuya Kawamura, SG, OSG;
5. Daiji Yamada, PF, Panasonic;
6. Ryota Sakurai, SG, Rera Kamuy;
7. Kenichi Sako, PG, Aisin;
8. Shinsuke Kashiwagi, Aisin;
9. Takehiko Orimo, SG, Rera Kamuy;
10. Kosuke Takeuchi, PF, Aisin;
11. Tomoo Amino, SF, Aisin;
12. Kei Igarashi, PG, Hitachi;
13. Fumihiko Aono, Panasonic;
14. J.R. Sakuragi, C/F, Aisin; and 1
5. Joji Takeuchi, PF, Hitachi.

Coach: Kimikazu Suzuki.

  Aono to make big impact for Japan NT in Olympic qualifier - Jul. 23, 2007 
He sank his body in a tiny chair — tiny for him — bending his back a bit, and gently talked with the reporters, looking at the eyes of each person.

Fumihiko Aono (210-C-78) is that kind of guy. Despite his massive body, he is humble, calm, and polite to everyone he chats with.

In fact, the 28-year-old Aono is arguably the only player who fits the adjective "massive" in Japan's hoop scene.

Aono, standing at 210 cm with a 120-kg weight, is one of the Japanese few players who can provide presence in the paint, and will be part of the key elements as the Japanese National Team enters the FIBA Asia Championship, during which it aims to gain a spot in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

"He is the biggest guy in Japan, and has got a wide body size as well," Japan coach Kimikazu Suzuki said of Aono on July 16, when he finalized his 12-man squad for the July 28 to Aug. 5 tournament in Tokushima. "In basketball, size does matter."

When he talked about the Olympics, Aono, center of the JBL's Panasonic Trians (formerly known as Kangaroos), raised his voice a bit, if not as much as other national team players.

"The Olympics is special," Aono said. "When we have it, everybody gets excited."

Four years ago, Aono played for the national team that tried to make the Athens Olympics in the 2003 Olympic qualifier in Harbin, China. But he injured his lower back and was saddled with a lukewarm performance.

"I only had vexation," Aono recalled of the tournament, speaking about that disappointment. "So I want to turn that into a good one this time."

The last four years weren't easy for Aono, who was never called up for the national team after the Athens Olympic qualifier.

He said he watched last year's FIBA World Championship in Japan on television, and was motivated to get back on the team again.

"As I saw (the national team players) were playing in front of that many people, I became hopeful to play in an atmosphere like that," said Aono, who has a super soft shooting touch for a big man.

There is another reason for Aono to be more determined for the Olympic qualifier. Aono, a native of Saijo, Ehime Prefecture, said he wants to show his skills in front of his family and former coaches, who plan to visit Tokushima.

"I want to show how much I've grown up to them," Aono said, adding he wants to take his wife, Yuko, to Beijing, because he's been leaving her home alone for the last half a year.
So, Aono is calmly excited, putting a Hinomaru jersey on.

Team Japan took a trip from June 27 to July 10 to Lithuania and Germany, where it played mainly with the Under-23 Lithuania National Team, and Aono felt he wasn't able to really come through.

"It wasn't very good for me," Aono said candidly. "I wasn't really able to relate to scoring plays and rebounds. But at least what things I can do and what things I can't do became clearer."

But Suzuki isn't too worried. He thinks Aono will play a big role for Japan, helping it grab victories in Tokushima, along with newly added J.R. Sakuragi, the ex-UCLA forward who recently gained Japanese citizenship and dropped his former surname (Henderson).

"(Aono) struggled in Europe but came through in the Asian Games (in Doha last December)," Suzuki said. "No one in this country has that kind of body size, and I'm sure he can clearly play (at the international level)."

  India national team roster for the Asian championship  - Jul. 23, 2007 
The final twelve have been selected to carry the flag of the Indian team that will participate in the 24th FIBA Asia Championship Cup to be held at Tokushima in Japan from July 28 to August 5.

The players: Sanjay Raj, Sambhaji Kadam (176-G-80), Roshan, Rizyauddin, Muralikrishna, Jayram, Shivakumar, Dilwar Singh, Lokesh Yadav, Trideep Rai, Anoop and Jagadeep.

India placed in Group 'C' with Qatar, Kazakhstan and Indonesia. Top two teams in this group will advance to the quarterfinals.

The Indian team, which is now under the tutelage of Serbian coach Aleksander Bucan, is currently undergoing training at the Sports Authority of India (SAI), South Centre.

Karnataka Basketball Association (KBA) President K Govindraj, who is accompanying the team as Chief De Mission and Manager, said that the team will be leaving tonight.

  China "B" NT whips Jordan NT, 81-67 - Jul. 23, 2007 
FIBA-Asia-bound Chinese national team trounced the 2007 W. Jones Cup winner, Jordan NT via 81-67 score in a series of goodwill games before the Asian Championship in Tokushima, Japan.

It was a close tune-up encounter of the top squads in the so-called “Group of Death” coming FIBA-Asia wherein the games was very close up to the last two minutes. China capitalized their advantage in the last two minutes when the two Jordan starters fouling out of the game along with top gun Rasheim Wright (193-G-81, agency: 123 Podium, college: District of Columbia) absorbing an injury.

Wang Yong and Yi Li led the Great Wall surge with 17 and 12 points a piece.

China "B" will next face the Qatari national team which yesterday scored a 59-59 deadlock with the Jordanian NT.

  Jordan vs Qatar, 59-59  - Jul. 22, 2007 
Qatar national team and Jordan national team tune up match ended in a draw via a 59-59 score held in Shanghai, China.

The said deadlock occurred after the refusal of Jordan's head coach Mario Palma to play in the overtime.

Jordan NT also defeated in a tune-up game the Chinese Basketball Association's Shanghai Sharks, a close 92-86 score.

Jordan NT will next face China in the series of goodwill matches coming Asian Championship in Tokushima Japan.

  South Korea seeks Olympic berth after 12 years - Jul. 22, 2007 
South Korea's national basketball team is seeking an appearance in the Olympics after 12 years.

The 12-player South Korean team, led by manager Choi Boo-young, will participate in the 24th Asia Championship for Men in Tokushima, Japan and compete for the only ticket assigned to the Asian region to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The championship will be held from July 28 to August 5.

South Korea, which hasn't made an appearance in the world games since the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, are drawn into Group D with Hong Kong, Syria and Taiwan.

As host China is promoted automatically into the finals, South Korea is expected to face-off with other favorites like Jordan, Philippines, Syria, Kazakhstan, Taiwan, Japan, Qatar, Lebanon and Iran to become the other Asian qualifier.

``The players are well prepared for the championship. Since the professional league kicked off, Korean basketball has faded in Asia. To stop its slide, every player has become determined,'' said manager Choi at the Inaugural meeting Friday.

Ahead of the Asia Championship, South Korean team tested its players at the William Jones Cup in Taiwan earlier this month.

At the competition, the South Korean team, troubled by key players, Hyun Joo-yup of the LG Sakers, Bang Sung-yoon of the SK Knights, posted a record of 5-4 to place 5th.

The South Korean team under a generational shift is trying to revive its reputation as Asia's No. 2 behind China.

South Korea ranked fourth in the championships in 2005 and fifth at the Doha Asian Games last year.

To return to its old form, the South Korean team is required to solidify their inside play.

South Korea has depended on three-pointers and a heavy offense through the Jones Cup.

When playing against the tall center East countries, they opened up the paint zone too easily and were sold on outside shooting despite having big men with good height.

It is a relief that veteran Kim Joo-Sung (205-C-79) is activated from an injury, which prevented him from showing off his skills at the Toronto Raptors' free agent camp.

If Kim and Ha Seung-jin can build a double-post and Kim Min-soo and Lee Dong-joon live up to their expectations, South Korea will have a competitive post.

The other trouble South Korea is all-rounder Lee Kyu-sup's breakaway.

The Samsung Thunders swingman showed solid performances at the Jones Cup but his thigh injury is preventing him from playing in the preliminary round.

As Lee's replacement, manager Choi added inexperienced collegiate player Yoon Ho-young.

To fill the absence, forward Kim Dong-woo and Yang Hee-jong are expected to be alternated.

``I know people worry about the team after the Jones Cup but Kim Joo-sung did not play in most of the games and a few people also suffered injuries. By facing Asian teams at the tournament, we gained confidence. As every player is motivated to make it to the Olympics, we will be able to claim the berth,'' captain and point guard Shin Ki-sung said.

  Kuwait NT lost twice to Philippine NT - Jul. 21, 2007 
Late addition James Yap returned from sick bay to fire 18 points to led the Philippine national team to an 84-68 thumping of Kuwait national team in the first goodwill game last Friday at the Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall Gym, Manila, Philippines
RP's top gunner Danny Seigle also came back to active duty to shoot 13 points.
In the second game, Philippine national team handed the Kuwait national team its worst loss so far via a 100-65 en route at the at the Caruncho Sports Center in Pasig.Gabe Norwood led the Philippine NT, who took a 55-21 lead at the half, with 13 points.
“They are small and quick but we're getting ready for tall opponents in Group A” Philippine coach Chot Reyes said.
Kuwait NT also lost to a secondary Philippine amateur team before the encounter with the Philippine NT.
Kuwait NT is bracketed in Group B along with host Japan, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates.

  India NT wins anew; targets top 5 in the Asian Championship - Jul. 19, 2007 
At the Kanteerava Indoor Stadium, the lanky lads of the Indian basketball team were going through their paces as part of a month-long conditioning camp held in Bangalore, to prepare the team for the Asian Championships to be held in Japan later this month. India faces tough competition from Qatar, Indonesia and Kazakhstan in its group.

The team, which leaves for Japan on July 25, has five players from Uttaranchal, one each from TN, Rajasthan and Services, and two each from Punjab and Karnataka. The team will be accompanied by its coach Alaksander Bucan, assistant coaches Mohinder Singh Rathore and Rajinder Singh, and team manager K Govindaraj.

The team members said, the camp, under the supervision of their Serbian coach Alaksander, has taught them some tough defense and better team spirit. The coach, on his part, said “This team has clever guys, but they don't know the game like they do in Europe and other countries. This is my first stint with the team. We hope to maximize our exposure at the Asian Championships to know where we stand. That will set our parameters for next year. We are in the fray with high level of motivation and want to win every game we play; we will fight every game.”

The players, all of who have donned the national team colors on more than one occasion, said they were indeed very proud to play for the country.

Karnataka boys Roshan (who played for JSC and will represent Vijaya Bank locally) and Rajanna Sanjay (206-C-84) (who represents HAL) will also banner the national team.

“India has a good talent pool, but the team doesn't have sponsorships or infrastructure. We need more indoor stadiums and professionalism if we have to move ahead,” said Roshan.

“Other teams have a strategy for every game, every move. We are just learning that now. Our aim for the Asian Championship is to reach the top 5,” Sanjay said.

Both of them mentioned the grueling training sessions they've had all this month and how it's helped build strength and team spirit. These boys dream of making it big, as big as the NBA or “gods of the game of basketball” as those associated with the American association are called. No prizes for guessing that Michael Jordan's the “best ever player” and a role model for them and almost every other basketball player on earth!

And do they wish they had more spectator attention? “Of course, every player wants to be applauded, by general audience. Sadly only cricketers get that kind of attention,” said Roshan, even as he gushed about getting female fan following.

Incidentally, Roshan is among the tallest in the team and stands at 6'10 ft, while Sanjay is a tad shorter at 6'5 ft. Sanjay is the master of slam dunks for his team too and is a pleasure to watch during practice.

We asked the two youngsters for some inspiring words of advice to aspiring basketball players.

Said Roshan: “If you have the interest and the passion, be prepared to put in hard work. Youngsters only think of studies these days. A bit of sports is also required to create a healthy balance in one's life.” Sanjay added: “To make it to the top in any sport, one needs to love the game and approach it with passion and self-motivation.”

Meanwhile, Indian NT ended its four match friendly series with Karnataka Juniors with a thumping 82-40 margin at the Sree Kanteerava stadium indoor courts here today.

Coach Aleksander Bucan tried his reserves and his varied combinations and even rested the speedy Sambhaji Kadam for long spells but still managed to inflict a crushing defeat on the State juniors, who are bound for a six match Test series against Malaysia, next month.

The Indian NT increased their tempo and played at full throttle. Sanjay and Roshan played well for the Karnataka juniors in the first session. However, Ravi Kumar (199-F-87) and Anup excelled in the second.

  India NT wins tune-up; hopes to do well in the Asian Championship - Jul. 18, 2007 
BANGALORE: India national team, now training under Serbian coach Aleksander Bucan, dished out a heart-warming display, even if it was against Karnataka Juniors, in a friendly match, at the Sree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium here this evening. The Indian NT won via 60-42.

But then the Karnataka Juniors, with the lanky Sanjay Raj (204-C-84) and Roshan assisting, kept pace with the fitter and sturdier national players, especially in the first quarter before feeling the heat.

Changing over at 31-24, the Indian national team with Tridip Rai and Dilwar Singh with playmaker Sambhaji Kadam (176-G-80) in fine nick upped the tempo to leave the State Juniors huffing and puffing. Srinivas Naik and Naresh did the bulk of the scoring for the State Juniors.

Tokushima FIBA-Asia bound India national team hopes to do well this Asian championship edition after hiring a European coach to auscpice the team. Jay Prakash Singh formerly handled the Indian national squad.
India, which placed 12th in the last edition of Asian championship, is bracketed along with Qatar, Kazakhstan and Indonesia this edition.

  United Arab Emirates NT leave for France training camp - Jul. 17, 2007 
The UAE basketball team have left for a two-week training camp in France in preparation for the Asian qualifiers of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The UAE team will play warm-up matches against four French clubs during the tour to gain experience before the Asian qualifiers, which will be held in Japan from July 29 to August 5.

The team will be under the guidance of experienced Serbian coach Zoran Zubcevic, who led the UAE to a gold medal in the Gulf Cup in January.

Salim Al Muttawa, board member of the UAE basketball association, heads the delegation, which includes 12 players - Younis Khamis, Jasim Abdul Redha, Mohammad Mubarak, Ahmad Mussa, Talal Salim, Ayoub Ahmad, Mattar Abdullah, Hasan Ali, Rashid Naser, Saeed Khalfan, Jasim Mohammad and Ali Abbas.

Three key players - Mal Allah Rashid, Qasim Mohammad and Ebrahim Khalfan, couldn't travel due to personal commitments.
A squad of 16 players, which had been reduced to the present number, trained during the past two weeks at the Al Wasl Club.
During the 10-day stint in Lyon, they are expected to play a couple of warm-up matches against local clubs and some of the African teams preparing for the African Games to be held in Algiers.

The players and officials are expected back on July 23 and travel two days later to Japan to compete in the championship. UAE are in the same group with hosts Japan, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.

  Taiwan NT 12-man roster for Asian Championship announced - Jul. 16, 2007 
The final 12-man Taiwan NT roster for 2007 Asian Championship in Tokushima, Japan was announced Monday by the Chinese Taipei Basketball Association (CTBA). Two-time SBL regular season MVP Tien Lei will sit out the tournament due to injury.

The final roster:
Guard: Lee Hsueh-lin, Chen Shih-nian, Hsu Hao-cheng, Lin Yi-huei, Yang Che-yi, Lu Cheng-ju
Forward: Lin Chih-jay, Chen Hsin-an, Yua Ying-li, Lee Chi-yi
Center: Tsun Wen-Din (203-C-84), Wu Dai-hao

Hsu Hao-cheng, Lin Yi-huei and Lu Cheng-ju will be making their international debut.

Tien Lei will not play in Tokushima.

Tien Lei, who already sat out the Jones Cup, was not on the roster due to injuries in his right thumb and stress fracture in his left leg. Tien's absence was definitely a bad news for Taiwan NT, which was limited to two big men of Tsun Wen-din and Wu Dai-hao.

Judging from the games in Jones Cup, Taiwan NT was always one inside player short both offensively and defensively. The absence of Tien Lei made it difficult for Taiwan head coach Cheng Kwang-suk to find an ideal frontcourt rotation.

Without Tien, who is capable of tallying at least 15 points and 10 rebounds in every game he's in, Tsun and Wu will have to shoulder the responsibilities of protecting the glass, score inside, and keep themselves on the floor without foul trouble.

Three players who played in Doha Asian Games last year did not make the roster this time, including Chou Shih-yuan, Yang Chin-min and Wu Yong-jen.

Taiwan is bracketed in the same group with Syria, Hong Kong and South Korea in the Asian Championship, which will start play in Tokushima, Japan from July 28 to August 5.

Credits to Chris Wang, Asia-basket Taiwan Correspondent

  RP Coach: Philippines ready to take all comers in FIBA-Asia Championship - Jul. 15, 2007 
With many lessons learned in two tournaments the last 14 days, the SMC-Philippine five has metamorphosed into a highly competitive squad that could well give any team a run for its money in the coming FIBA-Asia Olympic qualifier in Tokushima, Japan.

RP team coach Vincent Reyes made that assessment as the Nationals completed a tough two-week grind capped by their triumphant finish in the Smart Four-Nation Manila Invitational Championship last night at the Araneta Coliseum.

“From March to today, the difference was like night and day. The team has grown into a different creature,” said Reyes, moments after the RP squad conquered Lebanon, 87-81, for the crown in the pocket tourney also participated in by China and Syria.

Syria showed up China, 90-85, for third place in the tourney organized by the BAP-Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and sponsored by Nike, Gatorade, Victory Liner, Casino Alcohol and Omega Pain Killer.

Jimmy Alapag scored 16 of his 23 points in the second quarter while Mark Caguioa made 13 of his 19 points in the final period as the Nationals repeated their 88-83 win over the Lebanese Thursday for the championship that further underscored the team's readiness for the Tokushima joust from July 28-Aug. 5.

The RP squad will play Kuwait in two tune-up games Friday and Saturday before leaving for Japan on July 25.

“We now have the game to compete in Japan. But can we win it? That I don't know

because that's a confluence of good game and good fortune. At least, we have taken care of 50 percent of the equation. Now we only hope for good stroke of fortune,” said Reyes.

“Between now and July 28, our concentration will be the three teams (China, Iran and Jordan) we will play in our group. The coaching staff will dissect each and everyone in those teams,” Reyes added.

The Nationals have sized up the Chinese, the Iranians and the Jordanians, and Reyes felt the Nationals have a good chance against them.

Against the Lebanese who were qualifiers in the last two World Championships, the Nationals did well, showing the big improvement they've learned from their training stints in the US, Thailand, Iran, Belgrade and Taiwan.

Standing tall in the Manila Invitationals, Alapag won the Most Valuable Player award and led the Mythical Five Selection that also included teammate Kelly Williams, Lebanese Joe Vogel and Fadi El Khatib and Syrian Michael Mandaly.

Jimmy Alapag held his own in a fierce shootout with Vogel in the first half as the Nationals seized a 36-35 lead at the turn.

The Talk n Text prized playmaker fired three triples with the last coming before the buzzer sounded, giving the Nationals the one-point edge going into the final half.

  China to reinforce "B" squad for the FIBA-Asia Championship - Jul. 16, 2007 
Because of China's poor showing in the just-concluded Manila Invitationals, the team will likely be reinforced by at least three more recruits from the 22-man national pool for the FIBA-Asia Championships in Tokushima on July 28-Aug. 5.

PBA commissioner Noli Eala said yesterday a ranking official of the Chinese delegation intimated there will be changes in the lineup for the Olympic qualifiers.

China enlisted four players from its national pool to combine with veterans from the Chinese league and standouts from the under-20 selection for the Manila Invitationals. Coach Adijian Chang Bin was visibly upset by the “B” team's last place finish.

It was the “B” team's first overseas appearance and exposed China as beatable in Tokushima. China posted a 2-2 record and lost a 90-85 decision to Syria in the battle for third place at the Big Dome last Sunday. The consolation was China won two of three elimination round games, beating Syria, 98-94, and host Philippines, 77-74.
China is bracketed with Jordan, Iran and the Philippines in Group A in the first round of eliminations in Tokushima.

Philippine coach Chot Reyes called it “the group of death” because every team has a chance to advance to the quarterfinals.

In the Manila Invitationals, China showed its vulnerability by ranking last in field goal percentage (.412), rebounding (36.7), field goal percentage allowed (.525) and fastbreak points allowed (16.8). The stats pointed to deficiencies on both ends of the floor.

“It wasn't mentioned who exactly will be the replacements but definitely, not their NBA guys,” said Eala, referring to Yao Ming, Wang Zhizhi, Sun Yue and Yi Jianlian. “I think the Chinese team will get a center, a power forward and a guard. But even then, they're still vulnerable.”

Eala said he was told the “B” team had hardly played together before flying to Manila. The consensus was the team appeared to be badly coached. Adijian, an assistant in Chinese national team coach Jonas Kaulauskas‚ staff, was assigned to call the shots for the “B” squad in Tokushima.

China is sending its “B” team to Tokushima because Kaulauskas is fielding the top squad in the Stankovic Cup on July 28-Aug. 2 in Guangzhou and Macau. Besides, there is no incentive for China to win in Tokushima because it is automatically seeded into the 12-team basketball tournament in Beijing next year as the host country.

But Eala said China will play for pride in the Olympic qualifiers. “With the lineup they played in the Invitationals, maybe even Jordan has a chance to beat China,” continued Eala. “I'm sure China will find it unacceptable to be eliminated in the first round.”

Among the national pool players who may be tapped to reinforce China in Tokushima are 7-foot center Tang Zhengdong, 6-5 guard Gong Songlin, Zhu Fangyu (200-F-83) and 7-1 center Zhang Song Tao. The four players are not in the “A” roster.

The “B” team that played in the Invitationals featured four national pool players - 6-2 Zhang Qingpeng, 6-4 Yang Ming, 6-7 Wang Yong and 6-6 Han Shuo but none averaged in double digits. The leading scorers were 6-11 Yi Li (15.3), 6-11 Zhang Kai (12.0) and 6-10 Li Ke (10.5). Li, 27, played on the Chinese squad that took the gold medal at the Asian Games last year.

Credits to Joaquin Henson/Philippine Star

  24th FIBA-Asia Championship preliminary schedule - Jul. 7, 2007 
24th FIBA-Asia Championship\Beijing Olympics Basketball Tournament Qualifier

Below is the complete preliminary schedule of all teams.

Preliminary Round
Group A (Topseed - China)
July 28
China vs. Jordan
Iran vs. Philippines

July 29
Philippines vs. China
Jordan vs. Iran

July 30
Iran vs. China
Philippines vs. Jordan

Group B (Topseed - Lebanon)
July 28
UAE vs. Japan
Lebanon vs. Kuwait

July 29
Japan vs. Lebanon
Kuwait vs. UAE

July 30
UAE vs. Lebanon
Japan vs. Kuwait

Group C (Topseed - Qatar)
July 28
Qatar vs. India
Kazakhstan vs. Indonesia

July 29
Indonesia vs. Qatar
India vs. Kazakhstan

July 30
Kazakhstan vs. Qatar
Indonesia vs. India

Group D (Topseed - South Korea)
July 28
Syria vs. Chinese Taipei
South Korea vs. Hongkong of China

July 29
Hongkong of China vs. Syria
Chinese Taipei vs. South Korea

July 30
Chinese Taipei vs. Hongkong of China
Syria vs. South Korea

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