FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2017 Semi-Finals Preview
CHENZHOU (FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2017) - The battle fo the title at the FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2017 has come down to just four teams, and we'll gauge their chances in the Semi-Finals here.
PETROCHIMI IRAN vs AL RIYADI LEBANON
One way or another, these two West Asia powerhouses were really bound to meet, and now only one of them will survive to enter the Final. On one hand, we have maybe the deepest team in the entire field, Petrochimi, with a core composed of a handful of national team players and a superb foreign player in Willie Warren. Al Riyadi, for their part, are much of the same. Several national team standouts dot their lineup, and key foreign player Quincy Douby has been solid. The key here will be the matchups at the frontcourt, where Petrochimi's combo of Arsalan Kazemi and Meisam Mirzaei have been awesome. Ali Haidar of Riyadi can hold his own, but the challenge is for fellow big men Charles Tabet and Chris Daniels to step up as well. This should be a close fight, but looking at the way things are going, Riyadi should be able to squeak past Petrochimi riding the hot shooting of their superb backcourt let by Douby, Amir Saoud and Wael Arakji.
CHINA KASHGAR vs BC ASTANA
The hosts are coming off a convincing win over Chooks-To-Go, but they have their backs against the wall when they face streaking BC Astana in the Semi-Finals. The Kazakhs are riding high on a 4-game winning streak and with their foreign players and locals clicking well, they will be the slight favorites over the defending champions. Justin Carter has been one of the most productive players so far in the competition, and he has gotten great support from the likes of Alexandr Zhigulin, Dmitriy Gavrilov, Anatoliy Kolesnikov and fellow American Anthony Clemmons. They will have to try and hold down the explosive Darius Adams of China Kashgar, who was named Finals MVP of the 2017 CBA Finals earlier this year. Conversely, Adams will need help from Wang Zirui, Sun Tonglin and Makan Kelanbaike to carry the Chinese back into the Final. Of course, it will also be interesting to see if coach Li Qiuping will play his other foreign player Andray Blatche, who did not play in their win over the Filipinos yesterday.