Asian giant Iran overpowers Malaysia in FIBA-Asia openerBy Mark Giongco
MANILA, Philippines – Asian power Iran hardly broke a sweat as it ripped listless Malaysia to shreds 115-25 in Group C play in the curtain raiser of the 27th FIBA-Asia Championship at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Former NBA center Hamed Haddadi, who suited up for the Memphis Grizzlies for several seasons before being traded to and eventually waived by the Phoenix Suns last June, led the way with 21 points and eight rebounds in limited minutes.
The seven-foot-two Haddadi even outscored the whole Malaysia team at the half 14 to 13 with Iran already up by 45 points.
Showing no mercy, Iran kept its foot on the pedal in the second half as it outscored Malaysia, 33-2, in the third quarter to extend its lead to 76, 91-15, entering the final frame.
Iran, which won the tournament in 2007 and 2009, tangles with South Korea Friday afternoon in a clash of powerhouse teams set at 5:45pm before host Philippines goes up against a young and dangerous Jordan side in the 8:30pm matchup.
Iran is also grouped with defending champion China.