53 Alex Ryan Kirk (JPN)
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5 Takeaways from Day 3 of the FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2018

NONTHABURI (FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2018) — The Group Phase of the FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2018 concluded with exciting games and results as promised, setting up the stage for the Semifinals.

Before we head on to the final stages, here are 5 takeaways from Day 3 of the FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2018!

It’s Summer Time

It took some time for Dajuan Summers to get going and he finally exploded in the most crucial game for the SK Knights so far in tourney. After averaging 18.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in the first two games, he came through with 37 points and 13 boards in SK Knights crucial 89-82 win.

The SK Knights will have be facing a strong Alvark Tokyo in the Semifinals and they will need more classic performances like this from Summers to break through to the Finals.

The Kirk Hammer

Alex Kirk has quietly been one of the best and efficient players at the FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2018. His 26.7 points have come mostly off of sweet ball movement or easy putbacks as a result of Kirk using his large size to his advantage.

Throughout the first three games of the tournament, Alvark Tokyo has run multiple set plays with Kirk and another ball-handler in pick and rolls which finish with an alleyoop connection. It’s been one of the most effective set plays in the tournament which in turn makes Alvark Tokyo one of the best teams left.

Petrochimi’s dominance

The top team of Group A has blasted through the Group Phase without a single loss, winning in dominating fashion. Even more threatening for their opponents is the fact that they have been doing everything well, leaving very little room to take advantage of.

In their first three games, Petrochimi leads all teams in the FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2018 in rebounds (51.7) and assists (24.3) and is also second in points scored (93.7). Petrochimi also relies on production from all-around their roster, making it even more difficult to pinpoint one specific aspect to wear down the Iranian ballclub.

Come-from-behind Bolts

The odds were against the Bolts coming into the final game of the Group Phase. They had yet to collect a single win in the tournament and in their way were the defending champions, Al-Riyadi. The Lebanese squad was coming off an impressive overtime win over Mono Vampire and Meralco would need a win of at least 12 points to advance to the semifinals.

After a closely contested first quarter, the Meralco Bolts broke away with a 15-0 run which eventually turned into a 33-point win. The victory turned the tables, lifting Meralco from dead last in Group B to finish at 2nd place and claim the final ticket to the semis.

This just goes to show how unpredictable the games have been here at the FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2018.

Welcome to Durham

The Meralco Bolts brought along the favorite foreigner player, Allen Durham, for the FIBA Asia Champions Cup. Durham had been awarded multiple times as the best foreign player in the PBA with the Bolts and it was expected that he would continue to display his presence here.

Durham had been a force in the first two games with averages of 25.5 points and 15.0 rebounds per game, but he needed to put up only 10 points and 14 boards in this crucial win against Al-Riyadi .Though he didn’t put up a massive amount of points, Durham’s presence was enough to draw attention and allow the other Bolts players to roam freely.

Durham is currently 8th in scoring (20.3) and 2nd in rebounds (14.7) at the FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2018 and the Bolts will be relying a lot on that production in the semifinals.