Iran asserts might over China in FIBA-Asia
MANILA, Philippines — Iran asserted its might on reigning titlist China, 70-51, on Saturday in the 27th FIBA-Asia men’s championship at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Iranians, who are undefeated at 3-0 in group C, were in control all throughout and doused any resistance put up by the Chinese in the second half.
China trimmed the lead to 11 a minute into the payoff period, but Iran countered with a 13-2 blast which stretched the lead to its biggest at 22.
“We played a very good game, but we made a lot of mistakes. But I’m still happy we won, the team came out with a lot of will to win and energy,” said head coach Mehmed Becirovic.
Iran, led by center Hamed Hadadi, forced China to earn its points from the stripe for an eight-minute stretch in the fourth quarter.
Hadadi led the Iranians with 15 points and seven rebounds. Oshin Sahakian and Hamed Afagh added 13 and 12, respectively.
China’s next field goal, Wang Ziellin’s fingeroll with 47.1 seconds to go after closing the gap at 43-54 with 9:10 in the game, hardly mattered as the Chinese were down by 20.
China’s main man Yi Jianlian, the MVP in the last FIBA-Asia, didn’t suit up.
“We made a lot of mistakes. They controlled the game,” said China’s mentor Panaglotis Giannakis.
Ginannakis rued the Chinese’ poor shooting from the stripe, only 8-of-16, and on rebounding, 29-35. They also only had nine dimers compared to the Iranians’ 16.
Wang Shipeng, who was the lone scorer in double digits for China with 11, turned the ball over six times.
“Throughout the game, we didn’t do well in rebounding. Give us more time to get our rhythm and get used to the situation and we hope to get better,” said Wang.
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