Iran soundly beats China as S. Korea secures 2-1 slate


Two-time titlist Iran thumped defending champion China, 70-51, on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

The Iranians exploited to the hilt the absence of Chinese star Yi Jianlian posting a 26-15 lead in the first quarter before concluding the half with a huge 41-24 advantage. The Chinese managed to reduce the deficit to just 13 points during the second half but their hope was quickly extinguished when Iran launched a 13-2 run at the onset of the fourth quarter en route to a resounding win.

The Chinese are entering the second round with two defeats after being battered by South Korea last Friday.

Earliear, South Korea sweated just enough to trounce Malaysia, 80-58.

Lee Seung Jun, Lee Jonghyun and Cho Sungmin combined for 41 points to lead the Korean juggernaut that kept them at the second spot in the Group C standing with a 2-1 win-loss slate. Their other win was over China, 63-59 during the opening day.

Malaysia closed the gap, 48-58, going into the fourth period, but that proved to be its last gasp as Lee Seung Jun and Lee Jonghyun waxed hot to push Korea ahead for good.

With its third straight loss, the Malaysians became the first team to bow out of contention in the tournament.

In the other game, Jerry Johnson finished with 16 points and dished off six assists as Kazakhstan crushed India, 80-67, to top Group D with a 3-0 record.

Kazakhstan also overcame two extension periods before thrashing Bahrain, 79-76, Friday night at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.

After a one-day break on Sunday, Kazakhstan will advance into the second phase of the elimination round carrying a 3-0 record.


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