3 Seiya Ando (JPN)
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Top 5 headlines from FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2018

BEIRUT (FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2018) – 2018 was a good year for the FIBA Asia Champions Cup which was held in Thailand, featuring 8 of among the best basketball clubs from all over Asia. The level of competition and the battle for claims as champion of Asian champions generated plenty of headlines to keep fans entertained.

Here are the Top 5 moments from the FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2018!

“Japan and Korea return to FIBA Asia Champions Cup with a bang”

Prior to this season, there had not been a representative from Japan nor Korea in the FIBA Asia Champions Cup for the past decade. Japan, in particular, had gone nearly twenty years without a team in the club tournament before Alvark Tokyo got into the playing field this year.

Not only were Alvark (JPN) and the SK Knights (KOR) back in the playing field, they both made it to the semifinals where they faced each other. It was the Japanese B.League champions who eventually made it to the Finals before slightly missing out on claiming Japan’s first FIBA Asia Champions Cup title.

“PBA’s first ever team in FIBA Asia Champions Cup has inspiring darkhorse run”

The Philippines have had multiple representatives in the FIBA Asia Champions Cup, but none were a team from the Philippines Basketball Association (PBA) which is one of the oldest professional basketball league in the world. The Meralco Bolts shouldered the weight of the proud Philippines nation as the representing club and overcame the odds with a surprising run.

They started the tournament with a loss to Mono Vampire (THA), but turned the tables and made it to the Semifinals on an improbable blowout win over the defending champions, Al-Riyadi. Though they couldn’t advance to the final stage, their spirited run did a good job of displaying the trademark never-say-die mentality of Filipino basketball.

“New scoring records tied throughout FIBA Asia Champions Cup”

The level of talent was on full display especially in the last day of the tournament where teams decided on their final standings.

Amir Saoud started things off by tying the highest scoring total in the past three seasons with hanging a 50-piece on the Liaoning Flying Leopards, blowing off steam on a frustrating run to 7th place. The championship game then saw two players tie up for the scoring record in a title game when both Daiki Tanaka and Meisam Mirzaeitalarposhti put up 28 points.

“Al-Riyadi fails to defend title, drops out in Group phase”

Al-Riyadi of Lebanon came into the tournament as tournament favorites with two consecutive trips to the finals and most recently winning the trophy in 2017. They were lineup with talent up and down the roster and looked poised to make another deep run after the first two games. That’s why it was such a shocker when Al-Riyadi lost to the Meralco Bolts (PHI) by 33 points to get knocked out of the elimination round.

However, Al-Riyadi are a proud club and you can expect them to come back even stronger in 2019 with this chip on their shoulders.

“Petrochimi claims first championship, Iran secures most FIBA Asia Champions Cup titles”

The past two FIBA Asia Champions Cup seasons have been frustrating for Iran’s Petrochimi. They’ve always had a strong team lined up to play, but were stumped at the Semifinals wall when they faced up against the eventual champions in each season.

The players returned this year with a purpose, playing their hearts out and not only smashed through the final four round but went all way to beat Alvark Tokyo in an exciting finals matchup.

Petrochimi’s first FIBA Asia Champions Cup title added to Iran’s total to 6 championships, pushing them ahead of Lebanon for most titles as a country.