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Basketball: Favourites Iran beat Chinese Taipei to retain FIBA Asia Cup

Iran celebrate winning the FIBA Asia Cup after beating Chinese Taipei 89-79 in Wuhan. Photos: FIBAasia.net

Iran retained the FIBA Asia Cup after beating Chinese Taipei 89-79 in the final in Wuhan. Photos: FIBAasia.net

July 20, 2014: Iran retained the FIBA Asia Cup by beating Chinese Taipei 89-79 in Saturday’s final in Wuhan, ideal preparation as Team Melli prepare to compete with the Philippines and Korea in the FIBA World Cup in Spain from August 30-September 14.

 

The Philippines left it late before beating hosts China 80-79 to win the third-place playoff in the fifth edition of the competition.

 

Playing their first final in 50 years, Chinese Taipei came out all guns blazing in the early part of the game, but it was the more experienced Team Melli – who won last year’s FIBA Asia Championship – who took the lead and stayed ahead for most of the game.

 

Hamed Hadadi was the game’s top scorer with 21 points and Iran’s biggest star combined well with Mohammad Jamshidi, who scored 20 and was one of team’s top performers in Wuhan. Arsalan Kazemi, who sacrificed a NBA contract to play for Iran, struck a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds as they retained the title they won in Tokyo two years ago.

 

Iran coach Memi Becirovic said: “We achieved two things today. We did a lot of new things, but we also had control of the scoreboard.”

 

On occasion, Iran looked shaky in their perimeter defence, but Becirovic defended his team’s performance. “We have been trying out various things with our guards,” he said. “None of these guys were starting guards in our main team. In fact, I’m very happy the way they worked. It wasn’t perfect, but it was never meant to be. We aimed to make progress and we achieved that.”

 

Quincy Davis was Chinese Taipei’s leader, literally as well as figuratively, and the naturalised centre had his best game of the competition, with 19 points and 12 rebounds.

 

“The aim of the team was to keep Chinese Taipei basketball on the international basketball map,” Davis said after the nation won its first silver in the competition. “I think we achieved that.”

 

Iran beat the Philippines 76-55 in the semi-finals, while Chinese Taipei beat China 84-73.

 

Source: FIBA Asia Cup 2014 (wuhan2014.fibaasia.net); Editing by SportAsia

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