Australia and Iran men will face off on Saturday afternoon at 2pm in the Men’s Gold Medal Game, after defeating Korea and Japan, respectively, in the semi-finals of the 2017 IWBF Asia Oceania Championships.

Australia Rollers were outstanding in their semi-final win over Korea 81-50.  Both teams started at a hectic pace pushing the ball up the court looking for a quick basket.  Australia took a slim 20-17 lead into the first break, with Tom O’Neill-Thorne continuing to be an offensive threat for the Rollers.  A threat which Korea struggled to contain in the second quarter and the Australian’s started to pull away, holding a ten-point lead, 40-30, at halftime.

The Australians really demonstrated the experience and fitness within the team in the third quarter as they continued to push ahead, going into the final quarter with a 27-point lead.  The plucky Koreans did not give up but could not bridge the gap, as Australia took home the win and earnt themselves a spot in the gold medal.

Australia’s scoring was spread across the team with Tom O’Neill-Thorne leading with 16 points (6 from 7) followed by Shaun Norris with 13 points and Bill Latham and Brett Stibners with 10 points each.  Korea’s leading scorer was again, Donghyeon Gim with 17 points and 11 rebounds assisted by Dong-Suk Oh and Seunghyun Cho’s contribution of 12 points and 11 points, respectively. STATISTICS 

The second semi-final was a blockbuster with Iran coming from behind to defeat Japan 80-76. The first quarter was evenly contested between the two teams, as the lead exchanged several times, with Japan taking a one-point lead into the first break, 18-17. An 8-0 run at the start of the second quarter for Japan gave them a nine-point advantage that they took into the half-time break, 43-33.

The Japanese came out slowly at the start of the third quarter and found themselves in foul trouble whilst regaining composure. Iran took advantage going on a 12-0 run of their own and levelling the score midway through the quarter. Japan regrouped and thanks to excellent shooting from Takuya Furusawa and Hiroaki Kozai regained the lead again, 65-59, heading into the final ten minutes.

In an emotionally charged final quarter again Iran came from behind to tie the game and it was Iran who were able to make the big shots count in the latter stages of the game. Despite Japan’s efforts to send Iran to the free throw line to gain the possession and advantage to regain the lead, Iran ensured they converted from the free throw line to win the game by four points and make their way through to the gold medal game.

Iran’s Omid Hadiazhar led his team well scoring 29 points and had good support from Mohammadhasan Sayari, 11 points and 17 rebounds.  Japan’s Hiroaki Kozai was always a danger to Iran around the basket scoring 28 points with Reo Fujimoto adding 18 points. STATISTICS

In other playoff games, Thailand were too strong for Hong Kong with a 51-33 win. In a low-scoring game, it was Thailand who edged ahead in every quarter 9-8, 15-7, 14-8, 13-10 to give them an 18-point win and secure them a place in the 5th/6th playoff game.  Top scorer for the game was Thailand’s Pongsakorn Sripirom making a double-double of 26 points and 11 rebounds, whilst best for Hong Kong was Alphonsus Gee Git To with 11points and 8 rebounds. STATISTICS

China also sailed their way into the 5th/6th playoff game, with a comprehensive win 80 – 33 over Iraq.  China dominated the first half to take a 33-point lead into the halftime break 39-6. Iraq rallied in the second, but they still couldn’t match the hosts who took the victory and sent Iraq into the 7th/8th playoff game tomorrow. China’s Lei Yang led the scoring with 25 points and Thamer Mandeel top-scored for Iraq with 10 points. STATISTICS

In the 9th/10th placing game, it was Chinese Taipei secured ninth place with a 66 – 49 win over Kuwait.  Chun-Yi Lu was instrumental for Chinese Taipei, top scoring in the game and just missing out on a triple-double, making 21 points, 7 rebounds and 10 assists. For Kuwait Eisa Alfadhli hit 8-9 to lead their scorers with 16 points. STATISTICS

The opening game of the day was between New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) who were battling it out for the 11th and 12th position. New Zealand who have continued to improve throughout the championship, were able to overcome the UAE, 60 – 42, to finish with a win and eleventh in the competition. New Zealand’s Sheldon Larsen had a huge game with 28 points, youngster Kauri Murray was instrumental performance adding 9 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. UAE’s Tariq Alyassi led their scoring making a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds. STATISTICS

All results, stats and streams for 2017 IWBF Asia Oceania Championships