Physicality Iran’s biggest edge, says S. Korea coach
CHANGSHA CITY, China – Korea’s Kim Dong-kwang, the first coach to be bundled out in the KO stages of the Fiba Asia Olympic Qualifier here, has had first-hand accounts on the tournament’s two powerhouses, China and Iran, and is giving the Iranians the edge.
Though the mild-mannered mentor refused to say who his top bet for the gold medal is, Kim singled out the defending champion Iranians’ physicality on the defensive end as their main weapon.
“China and Iran are very different, but the Iranians are more physical (defensively), which could be a problem for the other team,” Kim said.
The Koreans had relatively more success in playing the Chinese in the preliminaries, losing narrowly, 76-73, after blowing an 18-point lead in the first half.
Against the Iranians on Thursday afternoon, the Koreans were forced to being just a bit of themselves as the physical Iran defense held them to just eight first quarter points with top gun Yang Donggeun shooting just six.
Gilas Pilipinas has so far been the only team to solve the Iranian puzzle, bamboozling Iran in the second half last week on the way to an 87-73 win that put the title favorites Iranians and the Chinese on a Final Four collision course.
Pressed to say who he thinks will win the gold medal here, Kim said it’s “very difficult.”
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