02 - 08
April 2018
15 Jalal Agha Miri (IRI)
to read

Five takeaways from Day 3 of the FIBA U16 Asian Championship

FOSHAN (FIBA U16 Asia Championship) - Day 3 was solid as heck in Foshan, China, and as always, there are gems for us to take away from all the action that took place.

Australia and China seem a cut above

Of the five games today, only two were blowouts. The first one was Australia manhandling a bigger Philippines team, 82-52, and the second was China outclassing New Zealand, 83-47. These results don't necessarily mean the Philippines and New Zealand are bad teams in as much as it means Australia and China are a cut above the rest. In both marquee matches, both the Crocs and the hosts showcased their depth. Are they on a collision course for the title? Perhaps, or perhaps some other team will trip either up, but admittedly, the talent levels on these two teams are on a higher tier.

We have a ton of teams in the "middle of the pack"

Having said that Australia and China are the elite, there are more than a handful of other squads outside looking in who will snatch up at least two of the four FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup slots at stake in this competition. This set is led by Iran and Japan, but it also includes Korea, Chinese Taipei, New Zealand and the Philippines. That's six teams that are, on paper, good enough to make it to the top four, and it will definitely be exciting to see which ones will be able to survive and punch their tickets to the World Cup.

Matin Aghajanpour and Sun Haoqin are super scoring studs

Matin dropped dropped 39 points as Iran tripped Chinese Taipei today. That puts the Iranian forward in a truly exclusive class as only three other players have ever scored 39 or more points in U16 Asia history: Zhou Qi, Satnam Singh Bhamara and Abdullah Abdullah. As for Haoqin, the young Chinese forward delivered today in their big win over New Zealand. He scored 29 points playing with almost no relief. He's among the youngest players in the entire competition, too, and that makes this feat even more impressive.

For Yuki Kawamura, size doesn't matter

We already knew Kawamura was as fast as a blur, but there was something special about how he just took over for Japan in the dying minutes as they defeated rivals Korea. He's a feast or famine kind of players because of how seemingly reckless he plays, but when he's on, he's such a wonder to watch. In the final quarter against Korea, the 5ft 7in (1.69m) point guard was at his very best, streaking fromone end to the other, running rings around his opponents and finishing at the basket with impunity. For this kid, size is not what matters - quickness does.

Ball movement and team play work

Australia and China are deep, yes, but they also move the ball well. They are actually the top two teams in terms of assists. In fact, of the four top placing teams so far, all are among the top five assists squads in this competition. The message is crystal clear - ball movement and team play lead to victories. Yes, we've seen a lot of stellar scorers like the aforementioned Aghajanpour and Haoqin, but the old basketball adage is still true - it takes a whole team's effort to get the W.