Day four of the 2017 IWBF Asia Oceania Championships saw both the men’s quarter-finals and semi-finals game take place, there was a lot at stake for the winners of those games not only was there a place in the stage of the competition but also a spot at the IWBF Wheelchair Basketball World Championships set to take place in Hamburg, Germany next year.
In the women’s competition, it was Australia and China who both stormed through to the gold medal game and qualified for the World Championships, with wins in their respective semi-finals at the AOZ Championships in Beijing.
Australia defeated Japan 71 – 41 on the back of a superb performance from Cobi Crispin and Amber Merritt. Australia led throughout the game and as Japan struggled to contain Gliders offensively as Crispin shooting at 62.5% hit a double-double with 23 points 16 rebounds, and Amber Merritt top scored finishing with 28 points at 77%. One point classified player, Claire Nott, showed her intelligent court awareness that frustrated the Japanese whilst also contributing 8 points. Whereas Japan struggled to convert their opportunities on offence, shooting at on 41% from the field compared to Australia’s 59.65%. Japan’s Ikumi Fujii led with 16 points and 6 rebounds and was well supported by the experienced Mari Amimoto with 13 points and 8 rebounds. STATISTICS
The second semi-final of the day saw China women comfortably sweep pass Iran, 108-4. In a ruthless performance by the Chinese, they restricted Iran to just two baskets in the opening quarter. Xiaolian Huang led the scoring from the Chinese with 31 points closely followed by Xuemei Zhang’s 26 points. STATISTICS
China will meet Australia in the gold medal game at 17.45 on Friday 27th October in a rematch of their group game, in which China won by nine points.
There were no surprises in the quarter-finals of the men’s competition as all higher ranked teams performed well with strong wins.
Australia Rollers easily accounted for Hong Kong, 102 – 10. In a dominant performance with quarter scores of 24-3, 22-0, 28-1, 28-6, Rollers coach Craig Friday was able to rotate all players throughout the game. Shaun Norris and Tristan Knowles joint top-scored for the Rollers grabbing 14 points each, whilst four players, Bill Latham, Kim Robins, Michael Auprince and Brett Stibners all finished with 12 points each. STATISTICS
Japan, also sailed into the semi-finals in a similar fashion, seeing off Iraq without any difficulties, 95-34. With a comfortable lead of 29 points at halftime, 45-16, they continued to overshadow Iraq in the second half to a confident win. Japan ‘s Renshi Chokai displayed his skill and potential to be a world-class player, shooting 13 – 16 from the field to finish with 27 points and 7 rebounds. The rest of the points were spread amongst field as all players got court time. Iraq’s attack was led by Hayder Al Sarraji and Raad Al Khafaji with 9 points and 8 points respectively. STATISTICS
Iran secured their spot in the semi-final with a well-earned 86-45 win over China. Iran started well jumping out to a 32-8 lead at the end for the first quarter. Iran’s physical style of play put China’s offence under pressure and at halftime, Iran had control of the game, 52 – 14. China, buoyed by the support of a home crowd, regrouped and matched the Iranians in the second half, 12-12 and 19-22, but the damage had already been done and the deficit too much to claw back. Omid Hadiazhar, once again top-scored for Iran contributing 22 points, matched by Mohammadhasan Sayari also with 22 points and 12 rebounds. For China Lei Yan and Zheng
In the last quarter-final game, it was Korea who managed to get a 67-32 win over Thailand in an untidy game. An uncharacteristically poor shooting performance from the Thailand team in the first half allowed Korea to capitalise and take a 28-point advantage into the halftime break, 36-8. The second half saw the Thai team rally and despite winning the fourth quarter, 17-4, Korea able take home the victory. Korea’s Donghyeon Gim top scored with 17 points, followed closely by Seunghyun Cho and Sangyeol Kim both hitting 14 points each. For Thailand Kwanchai Pimkorn finished with a high of 11 points. STATISTICS
The semi-final lineups will consist of Australia taking on Korea, whilst Japan will match up against Iran, tomorrow morning (Friday 27th October) at 11:00 and 13:15 (CST), respectively.
Today’s other playoff games were slightly more evenly contested. The developing Afghanistan team put up a great fight against a more experienced Saudi Arabia in a bid to secure 13th place in the Championships. However, the inexperience of the Afghanistan team showed as they let a halftime lead of six points slip to eventually lose 64 – 47. Afghanistan’s Sayed Wasim Sadat top-scored for the game with 16 points, whilst for Saudi Arabia Musa Alzahrani made 15 points. STATISTICS
There was not much that could separate Kuwait and United Arab Emirates, in a bid to reach the 9th -10th classification game. Kuwait who toughed it out with quarter scores of 16-17, 16-7,11-12, 14-12, to win 57 – 48. Kuwait’s Yousuf Nasir was instrumental scoring 18 points and 16 rebounds, whilst Ibrahim Alhammadi led the scoring for UAE with 17 points. STATISTICS
Chinese Taipei held off a New Zealand comeback to take the first win of the day, 58 – 48. New Zealand
Photo Credit: Shingo Ito – Japanese Wheelchair Basketball Federation