Japan looked to build on their opening game victory over Thailand in Division 1 of the men’s competition at the 2019 Asia Oceania Championships, as they took on the physical Iranian team, who themselves beat China in their opener. Japan’s agility and chair skills and their defensive pressure saw Iran get into foul trouble early on with influential player Omid Hadiazhar picking up four first quarter fouls. Japan went in to the half-time break with a healthy lead of fourteen points, up 36-22. Hadiazhar came back in to the game in the third and scored well for his team, but Japan again won the quarter and with an advantage of seventeen points going in to the final ten minutes, the game was all but over. Japan’s high intensity game plan made Iran work hard for every point they scored and they ran out winners, 71-51.
Reo Fujimoto and Takuya Furusawa got 18 points and 16 points respectively for Japan. Iran’s Omid Hadiazhar topped all scorers with 21 points.
Korea came out all guns blazing and dominated China from the off in their Division 1 match. Korea’s defence caused China problems as they never really got in to the game, shooting at 28% for the game and losing all four quarters – 16-9, 22-8, 23-8, and 20-7. It was an important win for Korea after their loss to Australia in their first game, and the score-line of 81-32 will give them confidence going into their next match against hosts Thailand tomorrow.
Korea dominated the scoring stats with Seung Hyun Cho getting 22 points, Dong Hyeon Gim 17 points, and Dong Ju Lim 16 points. Lin Yinhai top scored for China with 11 points.
Australia were looking for their second win of the tournament, and Thailand looking to get back to winning ways after their defeat against Japan in their last game. It was the Australians who controlled this game whilst also giving good court-time to all members of their squad as they used their rotations well. The first three quarters went to Australia – 19-9, 20-12, 22-16 – with Thailand managing to win the last quarter 11-10. It was too little too late though and they never really troubled Australia who ran out winners, 71-48, and finish top of Division 1 after day three.
Shaun Norris 20, Kim Robins 12, and Michael Auprince 10, all hit double figures for Australia, whilst for Thailand Jumjarean Aekkasit had 19 points and Pongsakorn Sripirom finished with a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds.
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.