In Division 1 of the men’s competition at the 2019 Asia Oceania Championships taking place in Pattaya, Thailand, there were victories on the second day of the tournament for the current top three teams in the Zone – Australia, Iran, and Japan.

Australia’s bid to retain their Asia Oceania Championships title got off to a good start by seeing off Korea in a low scoring affair, 58-46.

The teams went basket for basket for the first five minutes, but thanks to an 8-0 run at the end of the first quarter, Australia gave themselves a clear twelve-point advantage going into the second. Korea closed it to eleven points by half-time, but despite their best efforts could not get any closer as Australia edged the second half by one point to get the win. Head Coach Craig Friday used all of his rotations giving all players valuable game time.

Korea’s Dong Hyeon Gim was their only player to make double figures and led all scorers with a double-double of 25 points and 13 rebounds. Australia’s Bill Latham was next in line making 20 points.

Japan looked impressive as they saw off hosts Thailand comfortably, 64-37, in their first game of the tournament. Following their dramatic victory against China the night before, Thailand came into this game boosted with confidence, as they matched Japan to hold a one-point advantage after the first 10 minutes, 12-11. Changes to the Japanese line-up in the second were effective as they turned it around to hold a ten point lead at half-time, 27-17. The Thai team were outplayed in the third quarter with Japan taking the score out to a twenty-six point lead, and then winning the fourth by one to conclude a proficient performance by the Japanese.

Scoring was evenly distributed for Japan, but Reo Fujimoto top scored with 13 points. Duo Kwanchai Pimkorn and Pongsakorn Sripirom had 11 points each for Thailand.

China and Iran met in the final game of Division 1 in what was a fiercely fought battle between the two sides for the full 40 minutes. China, who looked to bounce back from their defeat last night against Thailand, came out strong at the start of the game. They took Iran by surprise to hold a four-point lead at the half-time break, 33-29, in a game full of passion that bubbled throughout with intensity and physicality

Iran reversed the scoreline by the end of third, taking an advantage of four points into the final quarter, but just when it looked like it was out of reach for China, they fought back and ensured a nail biting final few minutes. Iran held on though to take the win, 64-60.

Iran’s captain Morteza Abedi led by example making a double-double of 27 points and 11 rebounds. As for China, Lin Yahai top scored with 18 points.

The championships, being hosted by the Sports Association for Wheelchair Basketball Thailand, will tell us which countries from the Asia Oceania Zone will qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Tomorrow is the first full day of action with 10 matches over two courts over the course of the day.

You can keep up with all the action at the championships through live-streamstatistics, on the website, and on our social media channels (FacebookInstagramTwitter).