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Afghanistan loses its bid to qualify after 84-69 loss to Syria - Nov 26, 2006

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Qualifying Round
Game 2:

Syria - Afghanistan 84-69
(Q1: 22-11 Q2: 43-31 Q3: 62-53 Q4: 84-69)

The euphoria of the Afghani victory against Hong Kong (China) with a significant 8-point win 65-57 didn't last for 24 hours, as the Afghanistani team, made up entirely of Afghani expatriate players from the United States playing in ethnic Afghani-American basketball leagues could not stand against the formidable strength of a Syrian national basketball team. The disparity in experience was very evident and the game was never in contention except for a brief moment in the 4th when the Afghani team narrowed the margin to just five 64-59. But the Syrians retaliated with an onslaught of 18 consecutive points against a powerless Afghan side.

From opening quarter, Syrians had already established a lead with a doublle digit margin, stunning the Afghanis 15-3, an advantage the Syrians kept up despite a spirited effort by Sulaiman Aziz. The second quarter was more or less balanced, though the Syrians kept their lead and stayed ahead by twelve 43-31. The Afghanis were also plagued with early foul trouble. By he third quarter the Afghanis seemed to keep the momentum and through three-pointers by captain Yosouf Etamadi and Abdullah Karimi fired up the team to launch an onslaught that surprised the opponents coming dangerously close. But the Syrian response was swift stunning the inexperienced American-Afghani side that collapsed in the last few minutes.

Meanwhile Afghanistan head coach Zabi Subat said to the Asian Games official website that despite it all, he was proud with the performance his team put. "It is our first time here and you just wait until you see us next time", he promissd the reporter. "You saw how close we came and the good support we had and these results will mean a lot back home.' Top scorer was Syria's Sharif Sharif with 15 points.

Group C classification:

1. Syria 1-0

2. Afghanistan 1-1

3. Hong Kong 0-1

With this loss, the Afghani basketball selection will not take part in the official games where basketball events commence on the 30th.This is regardless of the result of the Syria - Hong Kong game due in 2 days time. Syria has qualified to the official rounds from Group C in addtion to Bahrain (Gr   

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