Australia Rollers successfully defended their men’s title as the 2017 IWBF Asia Oceania Champions in Beijing, China.
The Rollers beat Iran in a physical game, 80-54, in a repeat of the 2015 final. Australia led throughout the game, pushing out to an early lead winning the first quarter, 23-7. A comeback from Iran was on the cards in the second quarter, however, a high foul count forced Iran into some early changes to their lineups and it was Australia who took the 12-point lead into the halftime break. 33-21.
Australia demonstrated the wealth of experience they had on their side, with all but one of the team getting their name on the scoresheet, they put the game to bed winning the third 27-16, and although Iran kept it close in the final ten minutes, 20-17, Rollers had already done enough to take home gold.
Shaun Norris top-scored for Australia with 18 points followed by Tom O’Neill-Thorne with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Kim Robins and Brett Stibners were the two other Australian players to reach double figures with 10 points apiece. Again, Omid Hadiazhar was Iran’s major offensive shooting threat, lead scorer for the game with 26 points. STATISTICS
In the bronze medal match, it was Japan who also replicated their 2015 performance by overcoming South Korea, 68-54. In a tight first half, the teams were neck-and-neck, with South Korea taking the slight advantage into the long break, 30-27.
Korea maintained their lead for the majority of the third quarter until Japan’s speed and high-pressure defence got too much for the Koreans, who were forced into a number of turnovers, of which Japan capitalised. The scoring partnership of Kozai and Furusawa proved effective and helped Japan to win the second half by 17 points and secure the bronze medal, 68-54.
Korea’s Donghyeon Gim topped the rankings across the board, with 22 points, 13 rebounds and 4 assists, whilst for Japan Takuya Furusawa top scored with 22 points. STATISTICS
Today’s other matches saw hosts China beat Thailand, 75-68, in the fifth-place play-off. STATISTICS
In the seventh-place play-off, Iraq defeated Hong Kong 72-47. STATISTICS
Australia, Iran, Japan and South Korea have already secured the four men’s qualification spots on offer for the 2018 IWBF World Championships, scheduled to take place in German city Hamburg from August 17 to 26.