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Abdeen believes Jordan can continue winning in the second window
AMMAN (FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Asian Qualifiers) - Jordan were the darlings of the first Asian Qualifiers window, sweeping both their games for a very strong start in their campaign.
Team Captain Mahmoud Abdeen was a big reason for Jordan's impressive play, averaging 12.0 points, 4.0 assists, 1.0 steal and 2.5 three-pointers per game. Apart from his individual contributions, however, Abdeen is happiest with how well the entire team has played.
"I am happy with the performance of the team in general, especially the team work," he said. "For my part, I am happy with my performance as the leader of the team. I also tried to manage the situation of having Zaid Abbas and Dar Tucker play play together, since they both missed our preparation stage."
Speaking of Tucker, the naturalized player has given a tremendous boost to Al Nashama. He led the team in scoring and was arguably their most dangerous scorer. Abdeen acknowledges Tucker's contributions and is glad to be on the same side as the 6ft 3in (1.90m) guard.
"Dar Tucker is a great player and had a very big role for us, especially in the game against Lebanon," Abdeen said. "I am very happy for him, and I am happy to play with him."
At 30 years old, Abdeen is already considered among the seasoned veterans on this team, and he is aware that entails a big responsibility to lead them to the right direction.
"I worked hard to reach this stage, and now it is my turn to take the country's name high and reach the World Cup," he explained. "I need to help transfer this experience to the new generations and my teammates.
More than the winning, though, just playing in front of Jordan's fans was huge for Abdeen. He is ecstatic at how the people have responded to the national team's success.
"The fans had a big role in our match against Lebanon," he said. "They gave us motivation and enthusiasm to beat the Lebanese team, and I expect we will win all the remaining first round matches."
That victory over the Cedars was enabled in part because of the absence of legendary Fadi El Khatib, who retired after the FIBA Asia Cup 2017. That had a significant effect on Lebanon's potency, and Abdeen knew it.
"A big loss for the Lebanese team because Fadi is the player who really leads the team in the most important moments of the game," Abdeen said. "The Lebanese team misses that kind of the player now."
Looking ahead, Abdeen knows that Jordan are still not out of the woods. They know that 2 wins alone won't be enough to make it to the next round, much less the World Cup. Jordan's top playmaker believes there is still a lot of work to be done, though he is confident they have what it takes to emerge victorious.
"Yes we can win," he said. "Of course, every game is different, and we must respect the opponent in all games. We have to play hard and give all we have. I especially expect that the Syrian team will prepare better for our match, so we need to continue with our strong training, maintain our intensity and develop our young players for the better."