On day 3 of the 2017 IWBF Asia Oceania Championships the group stages were finalised and remaining undefeated Korea, Japan and Iran joined Australia to finish top of their pools in the men’s competition. In the women’s competition, China saw off a great challenge from Japan to also 3-0 in the group stages and top the women’s pool.
The Korean men’s team started the day’s play with an exciting win over host country China, 67-51. Korea began the game in fine form with Donghyeon Gim scoring 17 points in the opening quarter to give his team a handy 22-14 lead at the quarter time break. China got into foul trouble towards the end of the first quarter forcing them to their bench early on. China regrouped and came out the stronger side in the second quarter, however, Korea still matched up and edged the quarter by one basket, giving them a 10-point lead at halftime. Again, it was Korea who took control of the game in the third as Seunghyun Cho and Donghyeon Gim caused problems in the paint for China’s defence. As the early foul trouble took its toll in the latter stages of the game, Korea capitalised from the foul line, scoring 13 from 21 points, to give them a well-deserved, 67 – 51, win. Gim finished with 26 points and 7 boards whilst Cho added 22 of the Korean point. China were well served by Huajun Tan hitting the team’s high of 14 points and Lei Yang with 13 and 9 boards. STATISTICS
Up first on court one were the United Arab Emirate (UAE) and Afghanistan, both looking for their first win of the Championship, in the decider for 3rd/4th in Group D. The UAE used their experience over the developing Afghan team in the opening quarter and pushed out to an eight-point advantage. Despite a gutsy fightback from Afghanistan, it was UAE who were able to hold on to their early lead to take the win 56-41. UAE’s Ibrahim Alhammadi was the leading scorer in the game with 24 points, he was well supported by Tariq Alyassi and Habib Alblooshi with 10 points. The scoring was evenly spread for Afghanistan, but it was Safi Noori who led it with a high of 10 points. STATISTICS
New Zealand won their first game of the championship with a 51-41 win over Saudi Arabia. In a low scoring game were both teams struggled at times to find their shooting range, it was New Zealand who managed to steady their offence with Eamon Wood and Sheldon Larsen who held their never to slot home the crucial last quarter free throws to give New Zealand the win, in quarter scores 25-20, 0-0, 11-10, 15-10. Sheldon Larsen and Eamon Wood both hit 13 points to top score for New Zealand. Best for Saudi Arabia was Musa Alzahrani with 17 points. STATISTICS
The closest match on day three was between Iraq and Chinese Taipei. Both teams played a physical game in the opening half with Iraq managing to hold a slender two-point lead at halftime 27 – 25. The third quarter saw the lead exchange hands numerous times before Iraq’s Raad Al-Khafaji hit a three-point shot on the buzzer to give an Iraq a confidence boost and six-point lead going into the final quarter, 37-31. Iraq were able to hold on to the lead in the final quarter to win, 46-39, and secure second position in Group A and a place in the quarter-finals. Iraq’s Raad Al-Khafaji grabbed 12 rebounds to go with his 12 points and Hayder Al-Sarraji added 11 points. Chun Yi Lu was instrumental for Chinese Taipei with 17points and 12 rebounds. STATISTICS
In the final game of Group B, Hong Kong had no answer for the very experienced and talented Japanese team, which resulted in a one-sided scoreline in Japan’s favour, 107 – 12. Japan were clinical both in offence and defence, keeping Hong Kong scoreless in the first half, 31-0 and 21-0. In the second half it was much of the same as Japan eased home with quarter scores of 27-6 and 28-6, to take the win and head into a quarter-final match-up against Iraq. Japan’s scorers were led by the youngster Takuya Furusawa (23 points), followed closely by Reo Fujimoto (20 points) and Daisuke Tsuchiko (15 points). Wing Kin Chan top-scored for Hong Kong with 5 points. STATISTICS
Iran finished their pool games with a well-earned win over Thailand, 89 – 62. The top of the pool decider saw the more experienced Iran, led by Omid Hadiazhar’s double-double (30 points and 10 rebounds) who overpowered the determined Iranian team, 22 – 12, 25-14, 33-25 and 9-10. Top scorers for Thailand were Kwanchai Pimkorn and Aekkasit Jumjarean with 17 points and 13 points, respectively. STATISTICS
The first women’s game of the day saw the Australian Gliders ease to a comfortable win over Iran, 108 – 8. Making her debut at this major international wheelchair basketball tournament, Annabelle Lindsay impressed scoring 27 points and 10 rebounds, plus another solid performance from Amber Merritt (18 points) and Cobi Crispin (19 points). The Iranian’s fought all game and never gave up, with Mahsa Saadatzeinadanloo scoring her team’s 8 points. STATISTICS
It was a different story in the other women’s in what was a close affair it was China women who defeated Japan, 50 – 40, and maintained their undefeated record so far, this tournament. Both teams relied on their defensive pressure in the opening minutes and both struggled to break the defensive line, only a lapse in concentration from Japan and some accurate shooting from China allowed the Chinese to open up a slight lead at the end of the first, 12 – 6. The second and the third quarter was evenly matched, 11- 10 and 14-14, as China managed to hold onto a slender six-point advantage entering the fourth. Again, China stepped up their defence in the fourth, constantly putting Japan’s outside threat under pressure and forcing a number of turnovers, contributing to them winning the final quarter, 13-10, and finishing top of the women’s group. China’s scoring was shared across the board, but it was Xuejing Chen who top scored with 12 points 14, similarly for Japan, it was Ikumi Fujii and Mari Amimoto with 8 points apiece who led their scoring. STATISTICS
China will now face Iran in the semi-finals, whilst Japan and Australia will meet again in the other semi-final.