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Today's FIBA Asia Challenge Games: Saturday 17 September
TEHRAN (FIBA Asia Challenge 2016) - The Semi-Finals of the FIBA Asia Challenge 2016 in Tehran, Iran are upon us with three West Asian teams and a lone East Asian team all still vying for the right to be called best national basektball in the continent.
Here are the two consolation games and two Semi-Finals games that will be played today.
Chinese Taipei very nearly hurdled Korea yesterday if not for Kim JongKyu’s game-winning free throws in the last few seconds. Coach Yan Jia-Hwa was understandably miffed because of that, and Taipei will have their chance to vent their ire here on China, who were unfortunate enough to be upset by Iraq in their Quarter-Finals pairing. China beat Taipei earlier in the tournament, but they should be wary that Quincy Davis & Co. are going to go on a higher gear today.
Japan ran out of steam against Jordan and got knocked off last night, while India got shellacked in the second half by a deeper Iranian team. Both are still in the hunt for one of the coveted top five spots, but only the winner here will move on. Ira Brown is going to play a key role in trying to stop the twin tower combo of Amritpal and Amjyot Singh, while streaky guards Makoto Hiejima and Takatoshi Furukawa have to be on target for the Akatsuki Five to win.
Jordan have been on a roll, winning all of their last five games, but they haven’t played an opponent of the same class as Iran. Team Melli have been nothing if not dominant so far in the tournament, and their latest conquest — a 30-point blowout of India — should serve to only strengthen their resolve. As an added treat, this will feature a battle between the tournament’s best guard, Dar Tucker, against the the competition’s best big man, Hamed Haddadi. Iran are favored, but if Tucker catches fire, the hosts could be in trouble.
Korea had to scramble past Chinese Taipei yesterday, and they will have to play even better here against an Iraqi quintet brimming with confidence. Coach Hur Jae has to devise a way to stop naturalized player Kevin Galloway from dominating the game, or it could all fall apart for Korea. Shooters like Kim SunHyung, Heo IlYoung and Lee SeoungHyun also have hit their shots as their success is predicated on how well their perimeter game proceeds.