Iran set up Final with Japan, Korea will face Lebanon for spot at U19 Worlds
TEHRAN (2016 FIBA Asia U18 Championship) - Hosts Iran will get a chance to play for the 2016 FIBA Asia U18 Championship title as they raced by Korea to reach the Final against a Japan side who got by Lebanon to advance to their first championship game in 26 years.
Iran got double-doubles from Amirhossein Khandanpoor (17 points and 21 rebounds) and Amirhossein Rezaeifar in cruising to a 87-65 win over Korea in the Semi-Finals. In front of the home fans in Tehran, Iran opened a 20-point lead in the third quarter and Korea never got closer than 11 points in the fourth quarter.
Iran, who finished as the fourth placed team in Group B, will shoot for their third crown after winning in 2004 and 2008 (in Tehran). The Iranians lost in two other finals in 2002 and 2014. Korea got 16 points from Han Seunghui but they were not enough and the team will play in the 3rd Place Game.
Iran's opponent in the title bout will be Japan, who eased to a 75-59 victory over Lebanon to reach the title game for the first time since 1990 - the year the country claimed their only crown. Keisuke Masuda led the way with 29 points while Yudai Nishida scored 18 points in the win. Ali Mansour was Lebanon's top scorer with 17 points.
Lebanon led by eight points in the first quarter before Japan got back into the game. Japan's first double-digit lead was 45-35 with 5 minutes left in the third quarter. Lebanon never got closer than 8 points the rest of the way.
Iran and Japan faced off in Group B play earlier in the tournament with Japan winning 81-77. By reaching the final, Iran and Japan also booked their tickets to the 2017 FIBA U19 World Championship, joining hosts Egypt as well as the FIBA Americas U18 Championship quartet of United States, Canada, Brazil and Puerto Rico.
Iran are back in the U19 Worlds for the third time in a row while Japan will play at the tournament for the first time since 1999. The winner between Korea and Lebanon in the 3rd Place Game will also reach the U19 Worlds. Korea would make it for a fourth straight time while Lebanon's only appearance came in 2007.
In Classification 5-8 action, China beat Philippines and will play for fifth place against Chinese Taipei, who raced past India. Philippines and India will square off for seventh place.
Fan Ziming collected 17 points and 11 rebounds while Li Xiang picked up 10 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists in China's 85-55 victory. Theo Flores paced Philippines with 12 points.
Chinese Taipei had no problem with India in a 97-66 victory with six players scoring in double figures, topped by Jian Ting-Jhao's 16 points while Chen Yu-Wei had 10 points and 8 assists. India got 13 points from Hariram Ragupathy.
Re-live the experience on the FIBA Asia U18 live feed.
Japan v Korea
3rd Place Game:
Lebanon v Korea
Japan beat Lebanon 75-59
Iran beat Korea 87-65
China beat Philippines 85-55
Chinese Taipei beat India 97-66