Iran nails 1st finals berth
PUSHED for the first time in the 27th Fiba Asia Championship, Iran responded with fury in the final three quarters and dismantled Chinese Taipei, 79-60, to reach the finals ahead of everyone else, as expected.
Trailing after the first quarter for the first time in the tournament, the Iranians dropped a 17-0 run to open the second, wrest command from thereon and stay unbeaten heading into the title game against Gilas Pilipinas at 8:30 p.m. today, at Mall of Asia Arena.
With the win, Iran also booked the first ticket to the Fiba World Cup in Madrid next year, while the Taiwanese will still have another shot for the third and last slot when it plays in the battle for third against the Koreans.
The Iranians, the 2007 and 2009 champions, held the Taiwanese to four points in the third quarter to break the game wide open.
Iranian superstar Hamed Hadadi, however, paid Chinese Taipei a huge complement by saying they are a better team than China.
Mahdi Kamrany, aside from going a perfect 7-of-7 from two-point range, led the Iranian fightback in the second period.
Kamrany finished with 19 points, six rebounds and as many assists, and Hadadi, the former NBA standout, shot 17 points, hauled down 14 rebounds and provided the intimidating presence underneath that shackled Chinese Taipei’s big men.
The naturalized Quincy Davis III was the only one who was able to mix it up in the paint against the tall and beefy Iranian frontline, finishing with 16 points and five rebounds and a busted forehead after a daredevil dunk.
“They (Taiwanese) played a great first quarter,” Hadadi told reporters. “Our defense was just great from the second quarter. But Chinese Taipei is a great team, better than China which is not great in this tournament.”
IRAN 79—Kamrany 19, Haddadi 17, Sahakiam 13, Afagh 10, bahrami 8, Kardoust 8, Jamshidi 2, Davoudichegani 2, Sohrabnejad 0, Arghavan 0.
CHINESE TAIPEI 60—Davis 16, Chen 11, Tseng 6, Tsai 6, Lu 5, Hung 5, Tien 4, Lin 3, Yang 2, Creighton 2, Chou 0.
Quarters: 14-23, 41-35, 60-39, 79-60.
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