QATAR bounced back by nipping Chinese-Taipei, 71-68, on Wednesday to create a stir in the standings in Group E of the 27th FIBA-Asia Men’s Basketball Championship at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The victory of the Qataris boosted the Filipinos’ hopes of topping Group E because the Philippines, Chinese-Taipei and Qatar may end up the elimination round in a three-way tie with 4-1 win-loss each (assuming Gilas Pilipinas beat Hong Kong on Wednesday). A win by the Philippines over Hong Kong will enable it to land on top of the standings via higher quotient over Qatar and Chinese-Taipei. If that’s the case, Qatar will be no.2, Chinese-Taipei no. 3 and Jordan no. 4.
The eminent scenario then would be the Philippines, which crushed Qatar, 80-70, on Tuesday but lost to Taiwan, 79-84, on Saturday, will battle Group F’s no. 4 Kazakhstan in the knockout quarterfinals round. A bout against Kazakhstan could give the Philippines a better chance of advancing into the semifinals where it could face the winner between South Korea and Qatar in the other quarterfinals match.
Meanwhile, Jordan beats Japan, 65-56, on Wednesday to join the quarterfinals cast in Group E while Iran posted a resounding 85-53 win against Kazakhstan to remain unbeaten in five games in Group F.
Holding a 2-3 slate, Kazakhstan’s entry into the quarterfinals will still depend on the outcome of the game between China (2-2) and Bahrain (1-3). A loss by China to Bahrain may forge a triple tie in their group with each squad having a similar 2-3 card each. China and Bahrain were still playing at press time.
Jimmy Baxter and Mohammad Shaher Hussein, who combined for 31 points, led the Jordanians’ charge to establish a 45-35 lead going into the fourth period. A three-point shot by Ahmad Alhamarsheh allowed them to keep their 10-point lead, 55-45, going into the last two minutes of the match.
Jordan’s sixth straight quarterfinal appearance, the team will be facing powerhouse Iran in the knockout stage, a repetition of their 2011 FIBA-Asia encounter in Wuhan, China. Jordan eliminated Iran, 88-84, in that battle en route to a finals battle against China.
“We are very familiar with Iran. We met several times already and we beat them in some occasion. Iran is also familiar with us. That’s why we are prepared for this quarterfinals battle. I think, we can beat them,” said Jordan coach Wisam Al-Sous.