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Top 10 Efficient Players from FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Pre-Qualifiers
BEIRUT (FIBA Asia Cup 2021) – Over the last stretch of 2018, teams from all over Asia were battling out in the Pre-Qualifying round in order to get a crack at the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers that will tip off in November 2019. Eight teams were able to secure their tickets, in part because they had some of the best players in the region on their squads. Some teams were unfortunately not able to make it to the next round, but they had a fighting chance with their star players in peak form.
These next 10 players were the most efficient over the entire Pre-Qualifiers and we can’t to witness the next time they take the court!
Sani Sakakini (PLE)
Player efficiency: 37.8
Notable stats: 28.5 PPG, 17.0 RPG, 4.5 APG, 59.5 FG%
Sani’s Instagram handle is @beastsakakini and rightfully so. He was an absolute beast at the Western Region Pre-Qualifiers, leading a top-heavy Palestine team to the Qualifiers. The Palestine national team is not short of top level talent (as you will see later in this list), but Sani was still able to stand out as the most productive and efficient player by far. It should come as no surprise that Sani Sakakini has been this dominant, as he boasts one of the most impressive resume in the competition with professional stints in China, Venezuela, Jordan, and is currently in Chinese-Taipei.
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Sani posted a double-double in each of the 4 games he played and shot a blistering 59.5% from the field. Even when the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers tipoff, expect Sani Sakakini to stand tall even among Asia’s elite as one of the best players.
Joshua Fox (FIJ)
Player Efficiency: 29.3
Notable stats: 21.7 PPG, 17.3 RPG, 3.3 APG, 1.7 SPG
Fox was the heart, soul, arms, legs, hands, feet, and toes for Fiji in the Eastern Region Pre-Qualifiers, doing everything he could to get his team their first win. That elusive victory wouldn’t come, even as Fox put up 29 points, 22 rebounds, and 7 assists against Singapore. Even though they went winless this time, Fox’s stellar performance could be the start of something for Fiji basketball in the future.
Khalid Abdel-Gabar (KSA)
Player Efficiency: 21.8
Notable Stats: 14.3 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 5.3 APG, 1.8 SPG
Even on as balanced of a team as Saudi Arabia, Abdel-Gabar was still able to lead the team in assists, rebounds, efficiency, and was only second in scoring. Only two triple-doubles were recorded in the FIBA Asia Cup Pre-Qualifiers and one of them belongs to Abdel-Gabar who put up a well-rounded 11 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists against Bahrain.
Saudi Arabia weren’t as dependant on their star player as the other two respective players mentioned above, but Adbel-Gabar was the key central piece in one of the most well-oiled machines in the Pre-Qualifiers.
Tai Wesley (GUM)
Player Efficiency: 20.6
Notable Stats: 13.6 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 3.2 APG, 60.0 FG%
While his numbers might not be as eye-popping as that of Fox or Sakakini, Wesley was just as dominant during Guam’s 6-game sweep through the Eastern Region Pre-Qualifiers. Wesley needed only 20.5 minutes per game to display how good he was, with Guam resting him for lengthy periods just because they could.
In the two games where he logged over 30 minutes, Wesley averaged 20.0 points, 10.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.0 blocks while shooting a ridiculous 57.1% from the field. Not to mention that those two games were against Thailand and Indonesia, among two of the strongest teams in the competition. In his first game against Singapore, Wesley put up 14 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists on perfect 7-7 shooting just at halftime.
Imagine making this list at No.4 with watered down numbers and you just can help getting excited for when Guam plays in the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers to fully unleash Wesley to his full potential.
Earnest Ross (GUM)
Player Efficiency: 20.0
Notable Stats: 22.0 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 46.6 3P%, 27 3PM
Among the players listed here, Ross can be considered the only player whose efficiency is mainly buoyed by three-point shooting. Sure, the 6’5” Ross has a sizable frame to grab rebounds and play solid defense but he was also able to knocked down 27 threes (most in Pre-Qualifiers) at 46.6% conversion rate.
The only three players to have a better three-point shooting percentage than Ross attempted no more than 11 attempts compared to Ross’ total of 58. The 27-year-old never lacked confidence to take his shots and it led to him recording the second highest scoring game in the Pre-Qualifiers with 33 points against Malaysia.
Moses Morgan (THA)
Player Efficiency: 19.0
Notable Stats: 20.0 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 2.4 APG, 34.1 3P%
Morgan’s debut with the Thailand national team was a memorable one. His streaks of scoring lifted Thailand from time to time and despite a close loss to Indonesia in the final game, Morgan’s 35 points (highest scoring game in the Pre-Qualifiers) kept them toe to toe with their opponents.
Aside from his marksmanship, Morgan was a key part of Thailand’s defense using his wide and sturdy frame to good use.
Mark Hill (PLE)
Player Efficiency: 17.8
Notable Stats: 15.5 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 3.0 SPG
With Sani Sakakini beasting down low, Palestine got their perimeter contribution from 5’11” guard Mark Hill. The 31-year-old set up the offense for Palestine’s key contributors, the Sakakini brothers and Jamal Abushamala, and paced for 6.5 assists which was second most in the Pre-Qualifiers.
Hill was also a reliable scorer, scoring in double digits and hitting at least 4 triples in all games except Palestine’s loss to Saudi Arabia. Also armed with quick hands, Hill averaged 3 steals per game to set the tone for Palestine’s defense.
Salim Sakakini (PLE)
Player Efficiency: 17.3
Notable Stats: 11.3 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 64.3 FG%
It’s not the explosive numbers put up by his elder brother, Sani, but Salim was reliable and highly efficient in doing what he was expected to do. Palestine didn’t need Salim to do much, already with Sani and Hill shouldering much of the load which left a lot of golden opportunities for the 6’6” center.
In all of the 4 games he played, Salim always made more than half of his shots from the field including his only three-point attempt of the competition. Palestine needs some more help for Sani and Hill in the Qualifiers and it might be up to Salim to up his volume of production while maintaining his efficiency as well.
Delvin Goh (SIN)
Player Efficiency: 16.5
Notable Stats: 14.5 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.8 SPG
Goh was Singapore’s lone major minute big man in this tournament. While he missed some games to rest and other commitments, his production in the games he did play were enough to validate why he is still considered as one of the brighter young talents in the region.
While still possessing the strength and bulk to make him a threat in the post and on the boards, Goh also showcased him development playing off the dribble in various instances as well.
As he starts heading into his prime, Delvin Goh is looking ready to carry the Singapore national team to more success.
Mohamed Kawaid (BRN)
Player Efficiency: 16.3
Notable Stats: 13.3 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 3.5 APG, 50 FG%
Bahrain has a strong core at the top of their rotation, but the piece that holds everything together is their star, 29-year-old Kawaid. He does a little of everything for the team, just enough to compliment the other players on the squad and steps up when needed.
His big game of 20 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists on 57.1% shooting might not have been enough to take down Saudi Arabia, but it did keep them close in the game.