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Seven hopeful FIBA Asia Cup 2021 debuts after World Cup performance
BEIJING (China) - The FIBA Basketball World Cup is a stage for some of the best talents in the world and the 2019 edition of the competition was no different. Some talents were known commodities in the region having already represented their countries and succeeded in the FIBA Asia Cup like Yi Jianlian, Hamed Haddadi, and Gabe Norwood. Another group of players have yet to make their mark in the regional bout.
After their performances at the World Cup, fans are in anticipation for their potential FIBA Asia Cup debut.
CJ Perez (PHI)
Obviously, it wasn’t the ideal campaign for the Philippines as they finished dead last at 32nd place in the World Cup but there were some bright silver linings. In particular, one of the bright spots was World Cup rookie, Jaymar (or fondly known as CJ) Perez.
With the way he played, Gilas fans will be demanding for more, maybe as soon as possible at the continental qualifer next year.
Perez played a fearless brand of basketball and attacked the basket relentlessly, much to the delight of the passionate Filipino fans. He ended up with averages 12.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game. The 25-year-old had already flashed glimpses of potential at the FIBA Asia Challenge in 2016 and looks primed for a breakout whenever he makes his FIBA Asia Cup debut.
Rui Hachimura (JPN)
Japan also had a rough World Cup run, but the future still looks bright for the Akatsuki Five. Expectations were high for NBA and Washington Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura, which is why some might feel disappointed with the 21-year-old. Nonetheless, Hachimura averaged a healthy 13.3 points and 5.7 boards per contest for Japan, including a monstrous poster dunk on Myles Turner as his top highlight.
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There is no doubt that Japan will quickly get back on their feet to prepare for the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers and the Olympics next year. Hopefully their faithful fans will get to see Hachimura in the national team jersey once again soon, especially for a potential FIBA Asia Cup debut.
Freddy Ibrahim (JOR)
22-year-old Freddy Ibrahim made a quick splash into the Jordan national team circuit, following up an impressive stint at the William Jones Cup with a hopeful showing at the World Cup. Veterans Zaid Abbas, Ahmad Al-Dwairi, and Dar Tucker carried most of the load for Jordan, but Freddy performed nicely in his part as a distributor.
The 1.90M (6’3”) guard put up solid stats of 7.2 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per contest in China, giving the Jordan another hopeful building block for their future core.
Ra Guna (KOR)
After putting up monster numbers throughout the entire the Asian Qualifiers and the World Cup itself, it’s only normal for fans to get excited for how well Ra Guna can do at the FIBA Asia Cup.
In China, Ra led all players in points and rebounds with 23.0 points and 12.8 boards per game. He recorded a double-double in every game which should give fans something to potentially look forward to see from the Korea national team at the Asia Cup.
Corey Webster (NZL)
There might have not been a more electric scorer to watch through the stages of the World Cup than Corey Webster of the Tall Blacks. Indeed, the 30-year-old scored in bunches with a top 5 scoring average of 22.8 points per game, but he also ranked up his points with high efficiency.
Webster has more shots than missed from all everywhere on the floor, with shooting splits of 54.2 percent from the field, 54.5 percent from beyond the three-point line, and 92.3 percent from the free-throw line. New Zealand finished at 4th at FIBA Asia Cup 2017 and a Corey Webster debut might be something that pushes them even further ahead.
Aaron Geramipoor (IRI)
Iran booked a direct ticket to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and a major factor of their success in China was their national team debutant, Geramipoor.
The 7-footer added another big body to relieve pressure off Hamed Haddadi and even put up productive and efficient numbers of his own. In 16.7 minutes per game, Geramipoor averaged 10.4 points and 6.0 rebounds on 69.7 percent shooting.
With Haddadi and Samad Nikkah Bahrami aging into their late 30s, Geramipoor seems like a nice fresh face to add into the mix for the 3-time Asia Cup champions.
Patty Mills/Aaron Baynes/Joe Ingles/Matthew Dellavedova/etc. (AUS)
Australia won the FIBA Asia Cup in 2017 and were among one of the best teams in the entire World Cup, finishing at 4th.
It would most certainly be fun for the fans to see any of the other 11 Boomers (Mitch Creek already played in Asia Cup 2017) make their Asia Cup debut in 2021. It might not be as fun for the other teams that will have to face them though, if such a situation becomes reality.
Jock Landale (AUS)
However, if you had to pick one guy from the recent World Cup Boomers squad that you might want to see at the Asia Cup, Jock Landale is a pretty good choice.
The lesser-known 24-year-old was named to play in China without much fanfare, but came out as one of the more intriguing prospects down the road for Australia. Landale was solid in his 18.5 minutes per game, posting 6.3 points and 3.4 rebounds per game, being a key part of a run to the Semi-finals.
He's now started his professional career playing in Lithuania while fans wait for a potential return to this region for the FIBA Asia Cup in the future.