9 Geonwoo Kim (KOR)
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5 Takeaways from Day 2 of the FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2018

NONTHABURI (FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2018) — The second day of the FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2018 has come down to a close and the Semifinals situation gets a little clearer. While there’s still a lot of basketball to play and plenty at stake, here’s what we have learned after the second day of action at the FIBA Asia Champions Cup!

Check out the 5 takeaways from Day 2 of the FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2018!

Alvark Tokyo and Daiki Tanaka are the real deal

Alvark Tokyo’s second straight win in the FIBA Asia Champions Cup should wash away most of the doubt fans were having about how good they actually were going to be at this level. For a second straight game, they had to face a furious comeback attempt by talented teams and were able to force them back and cling on to the win.

The strength of Alvark lies in how balanced they are up and down the entire roster and their well-orchestrated passing makes it difficult for defenses to focus on. Just to illustrate how well they are moving the ball, 33 of Alvark’s 50 field goals were assisted. Alvark Tokyo are among the few teams in the FIBA Asia Champions Cup that do not have a go-to offensive isolation option, but they’ve also shown that they don’t need one to win either.

…Except for maybe Daiki Tanaka. The Japan National Team wing is not physically imposing, but his sharp footwork and sweet-shooting has made him a prime target for whenever Alvark needs to get points on the board.

Heart of a champion

The headline of Day 1 might have been focused on Alvark Tokyo beating the defending champions Al-Riyadi, but it can’t be forgotten that the Lebanese club had actually made a decent run to get back in the game before their eventual loss. Al-Riyadi displayed the same grit in today’s game against the Mono Vampire and it paid off with a satisfying overtime win.

The team had lost their 4th quarter lead and instead of breaking down, they held their ground. Mark Lyons knocked down a difficult game-tying three to force overtime, leaving the rest of the work in overtime to Amir Saoud and Bassel Bawji.

Though Al-Riyadi might not yet be in dominating form, they are still the defending champions of this competition which makes it foolish to count them out before the final buzzer sounds.

Chantachon steps up to produce

With Marcus Keene struggling to get his usual shots to go down and the other Mono Vampire shooters off target, the Thai club needed production from elsewhere to hang with Al-Riyadi. They got the usual big numbers from Mike Singletary, but it was the intriguing performance by Teerawat Chantachon that the Thais can feel good about.

The young big man finished with 9 rebounds with 6 of those being on the offensive end. This put him in position for easy baskets and he finished with 21 points in total. Just to raise even more eyebrows, Chantachon displayed his range by nailing his only three-point attempt of the game.

Hungry, hungry Petrochimi

Petrochimi may be running on a very short rotation which have taken some injury hits, but that hasn’t slowed them down. At all.

After completely running over a solid SK Knights in Day 1 of the tournament, the Iranian Club once again had no trouble beating Pauian Archiland from Chinese-Taipei in a game which was blown out near the end of the first half. Neither of their first two opponents had an answer for Iran’s size and, even worse, have been able to stop Petrochimi’s shooters from connecting. The duo of Farid Aslani and Benham Yakhchali have combined to average 8 three-pointers per game spread evenly among both players.

It looks probable that Petrochimi will finish the Group Phase with an unblemished record in Group A, meaning trouble for whoever comes out of Group B in second place.

Exciting ending in the Group Phase up ahead

The results of today’s game sets up a series of exciting potential outcomes to wrap up the Group Phase in Day 3.

Every game in Group has seemed like it could have gone either way and the final games within the group could end up in a three-way tie that will be decided by a few points. It could come down to players and teams regretting those missed free-throws or layups that didn’t seem to matter much at the moment, but will feel like a lot much more now.

Group A’s results should be a bit more straightforward, as undefeated Petrochimi will face winless Liaoning Flying Leopards. It will be a tough task for the Flying Leopards to salvage a victory in this game, and if they don’t it leaves the SK Knights to battle it out against Pauian Archiland for an outright Semifinals spot.

The games will get even more intense when the action picks up in Day 3 so don’t forget to tune in!