Power forward Jarvis Hayes delivered in the clutch as Qatar survived Japan, 75-74, at the start of their Group B campaign in the 27th Fiba Asia Championship last night at Mall of Asia Arena.
Chinese Taipei also leaned on foreign talent Quincy Davis III to subdue Jordan, 91-87, in Group A, where Gilas Pilipinas and Hong Kong also belong.
Davis, a regular campaigner in Taipei’s pro league, had 18 points and 11 rebounds to complement shooting guard Lin Chih-chieh’s 27 points, highlighted by four three-pointers.
As expected, Iran crushed Malaysia, 115-25, with 7-foot-2 NBA veteran Hamed Haddadi leading the way with 21 points for the 2007 and 2009 Asian champions in the opening match of the 15-nation tournament that offers three tickets to the Fiba World Cup in Spain.
The 90-point margin was two shy of the record set by the former Soviet Union in a 140-48 rout of Central African Republic in 1974.
Hayes, in distinguished company with LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony during the 2003 NBA Draft after the New Jersey Nets made him the 10th pick overall, scored six of Qatar’s last eight points.
Sniper Keijuro Matsui’s three cut the deficit but Qatar ran out the clock for the final count.
“The experience of these guys brought us the win,” said Qatar coach Tom Wisman, who called the shots for Japan in the previous Asian championship in Wuhan, China. “You’ve got to feel fortunate when you shoot just 36 percent from the floor.”
Qatar forfeited all its games in Wuhan after Fiba Asia disqualified six players, including 2012 Dallas Mavericks draftee Targuy Ngombo.