• FIBA Asia: China shakes off lethargy to escape Jordan

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    China continued to play without their usual intensity that almost cost their game. But veteran and former NBA player Wang Zhi-Zhi came to the rescue by scoring a three-point play in the crucial stretch as China eked out a 79-76 win over Jordan on Saturday in the 27th FIBA-Asia Men’s Basketball Championship at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
    China, the winningest team in FIBA-Asia with 15 titles, had just come off a stunning 98-76 loss to Chinese-Taipei on Friday, and was playing lethargic basketball against the Jordanians, until the 35-year-old Wang stepped up.

    They will battle take on the winner of the game between Qatar and Kazakhstan for the fifth spot Sunday.
    Wang, who played for the Dallas Mavericks, finished with 33 points and snared seven rebounds and three assists in his best ever performance in the tournament. Only six of the 12 players fielded by Greek coach Giannakis Panagiotis scored, with seven footer Yi Jianlian, also an NBA veteran, contributing 18 points, four rebounds and five assists.
    “It was another close game for us. We tried hard to win. Even if Jordan grabbed the lead, but it was good, we kept our focus in the end,” Panagiotis said.
    India leaned on Singh Pratham and Vishesh Bhriguvanshi’s combined 35 points to beat Bahrain, 75-65, and settled for 11th place in the 15-nation event, which will send the top three teams to the 2014 FIBA World Championship in Madrid, Spain.
    Pratham was 50 percent in the field goal on six-of-12 attempts while Bhriguvanshi was also four-of-eight as they immediately surged to 27-13 upperhand in the first 10 minutes of the game. But Bahrain behind Husain Altawash and Yunes Kawaid fought back with a 11-2 rally to move just a lone point behind, 39-40, at the half.
    The two teams exchanged baskets in the next frame and only two points separated them 53-51 until a spurt by Pratham and Bhriguvanshi.
    Japan beat Hong Kong, 79-50, to finish 9th. Kosuke Kanamaru led all scorers with 25 points, Atsuya Ota added 15 on top of nine rebounds and three assists as the Japanese relegated Hong Kong to 10th place.

    FRANK CALAPRE

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