The tournament began with one of the pre-competition favourites Australia facing the history making team from India, competing for the first time ever at an IWBF event. Unfortunately for India it was a one sided affair as the more experienced Aussies comfortable ran out 86 – 25 winners. The Australians shared the scoring across the team, with Anderson Parker (16), Jontee Brown (14) and Tom O’Neil-Thorne (10) all registering double figures. Highlight of the game however was the shooting of India’s Partha Venkatram who scored 21 of his teams points, including 5 three point baskets.
Following a subdued opening ceremony, as Thailand is still officially in a state of mourning for their King who passed away late last year,the hosts faced off against one of the Zone’s power teams, Iran. The game went basket for basket for the opening minutes, until Iran placed a strong press on which Thailand struggled to break. This allowed Iran to jump out to a commanding lead at half time. Although the second half was a more even affair, Thailand could not breach the gap and went down 73 – 41 at the end. The primary contributors for Iran were Mohammadhassan Sayari (26) and Motjaba Kamali (20) while for the home team their captain Pongsakorn Sripirom showed the benefit of his international experience at a senior level with 29 points.
Game three had Japan and China line up in what looked to be the game of the day. China has made significant progress in the last couple of years and everyone was expecting a good contest. Japan however had other ideas and with an impressive opening quarter out scored China 15-2. Not satisfied they put the game out of the reach of China with a dominant second quarter, holding their opponents scoreless with a well drilled defence. The second half became some what of a procession as Japan finished easy winners 78-16. Renshi Chokai topped scored for the winners with 28 points, and he was well supported by Takuya Furusawa with 17. For China Tang Mengfan made half of his team points with 8.
Final game of the day had India line up against Iran. Sadly Venkatram could not repeat his from from earlier in the day and could only manage 7 points, including one of his long range 3 pointers. This was their half time score, and they fell away in the second half to be scoreless against the taller and stronger Iranians. The final score of 89-7 conveyed the Indian’s teams fatigue from two games in the day. Iran shared the scoring, with 5 players in double figures led by Amirezza Ahmadi with 14.
Tomorrow promises to show where the final standings may fall, with Australia having the tough draw of Japan and Iran in the one day.
Day One Scores: