The 2019 Asia Oceania Championships Division 2 Final saw Malaysia face off against Saudi Arabia. Up for grabs was not only being crowned winner of Division 2, but the ranking position of seventh in the Division 1 quarter-finals for the winner, and the ranking of eighth in the quarter-finals for the loser.
Despite Saudi Arabia taking a four-point lead with four minutes to go in the first, they didn’t manage to find another basket as Malaysia came back with a 6-0 run to lead 16-14. The lead exchanged hands throughout the second and third quarters as neither team could get a foot hold on the game. It was level at half-time, 28-28, and 42-40 to Saudi Arabia with 10 minutes remaining, so a tense and exciting fourth quarter was expected.
With one and a half minutes gone, the score was 44-44, but then the tide turned. Malaysia started to stamp their authority on the game with their high press defence and some excellent perimeter shooting from Freday Yei Bing Tan. The press was creating a number of pressure shots and turnovers from Saudi Arabia, as they fell further behind. The frustration crept in and as they tried to force their way back in to the game, they made a number of fouls which gave Malaysia chances to extend their lead. They won the quarter 24-2, and ran out clear winners in the end, 64-44.
Muhamad Atib Zakaria (22 points and 10 rebounds) and Freday Yei Bing Tan (18 points and 12 assists) both finished with a double-double for Malaysia, with Musa Alzahrani top scoring for Saudi Arabia with 12 points.
Indonesia and Iraq had earlier opened the action on Day 6 of the 2019 Asia Oceania Championships, in the crossover games for places 11-14.
Iraq controlled the game from the start and won the first quarter 22-6 and second 14-3 with the shots just not falling for Indonesia. Iraq continued to dominate in the second half winning the third and fourth quarters, 22-4 and 22-7 respectively, giving them a comfortable victory, 80-20, to ensure their place in the 11/12th placing game.
Iraq shared the scoring across the board, with four players hitting double figures – Mustafa Alag (18), Saif Al-Taie (16), Ahmed Mushtaq (12), and Layth Al-Attabi (10). I Komang Suparta was Indonesia’s top scorer with 8 points.
Playing in the other 11-14 crossover game, Afghanistan took on India, with India still looking for their first win of the tournament. There wasn’t much to separate the sides in the first half as Afghanistan won the first two quarters by two points each, giving them a four-point advantage at the break, 25-21.
It was a slow start to the second half, with no-one adding to the scoreboard for the first four minutes. A plethora of fouls across the board saw India lose Jagannathan Deivasigamani just before the end of the third as Afghanistan won the quarter 8-2.
With a ten-point deficit to overturn and defensive pressure from Afghanistan, India found themselves struggling to put passes together and a number of turnovers allowed Afghanistan to extend their advantage and win the quarter 27-4, and the game 60-27.
Sayed Nazir Qatali top scored for Afghanistan with 12 points, whilst Ajit Kumar Shukla and Javed Ramjan Choudhari hit 6 points apiece for India.
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.
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