On August 1, 2013, 15 of Asia’s top basketball countries entered the 27th FIBA Asia tournament.
We are now down to the final four.
With a combined record of 25-3, each team essentially has two chances to come up with one win earning them a spot at the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain.
Here is what we know so far: there will be a new FIBA Asia champ as the curse continues. What curse am I talking about? Well, champions of the previous tournament are creating a trend in being knockout of the quarterfinal round. In 2011, the reigning champs Iran were eliminated in the Q-finals by Jordan.
FIBA Asia final four breakdown.
Iran (7-0) vs. Chinese Taipei (6-1)
This really is a “David vs. Goliath” showdown.
Chinese Taipei will play the role of “David” coming in as a huge underdog looking to ride the momentum from a thrilling win over the 2011 FIBA Asia champions China.
There doesn’t seem to be a spotlight bright enough for this cinderella team. Time and time again, Taipei has stepped up when called upon to do so.
The age old question of the tournament remains; who will stop Iran’s Hamed Haddadi?
Haddadi has been the tournament MVP thus far. His presence is immediately felt when he is on the floor. At 7″2, he is difficult to box out and with a high release on hisshooting form, he impossible to block.
Quincy Davis is the star for Chinese Taipei. During the Taipei vs. China upset, Davis had a monster-like performance with 26 points on 12-of- 13 shooting. The Davis vs. Haddadi matchup will be an interesting one. If Iran draws too much attention to Davis, he can simply kick it out to one of his teammates behind the three point line where Taipei is shooting just under 42 per cent.
Buddha’s Predictions; Chinese Taipei has been hot, real hot. Waiting to extinguishing the blazing streak of Taipei is Iran. Now this won’t be a breeze for Iran but I think Taipei’s “bigs” get into foul trouble trying to contain Haddadi, this will create a decline in Taipei’s momentum. Iran +8
Korea (6-1) vs. Philippines (6-1)
Philippines finally gets its long awaited rematch.
I’ll take you back to the 2011 FIBA Asia championships. The Philippines were playing Korea for the bronze medal and the final ticket to the 2012 London Olympic qualifiers.
Philippines dominated the entire game. I mean the entire game.
But wait, the Koreans started hitting three pointer, and-1s, getting to the line.
The Koreans rallied an incredible come back. A dagger shot through the heart of the Pilipino community when Tae J Moon hit a three point to take the lead and capping off a 17-6 fourth quarter run.
Don’t think that is enough? Well check out the story behind the 2002 Asian Games. Year after year the Koreans have had the Philippines’ number on all accounts.
But now the Philippines are on home soil. They are being heard across Asia. A statement was made in the Q-finals matchup against Kazakhstan. They believe it is now or never.
Expect a back and forth fast paced match with a lot of energy. Yes, there will be a lot of turnovers, a lot of fouls but the transition/ball movement/three point shooting will make up for it.
The Koreans have four players averaging double figures in scoring. Watch out for Eric Sandrin. He can be a dominant force in the paint. He is one of those players you hate playing against and love having on your team.
Philippines coach Chot Reyes hopes superstar Japeth Aguilar can step up when the spotlight shines the brightest.
Buddha’s Prediction: These teams are very evenly matched. The Philippines have been great at feeding off of a stellar home crowd. This could very well turn into an old chess match between the two coaches. If that is the case, I have to give this one to coach Yoo and the Koreans. Watch for half court traps and a 1-3-1 defences that have been causing problems for opponents all tournament long. Korea +4