01 November, 2017
01 February, 2019
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What we learned from the first round of Eastern Region Pre-Qualifiers

NONTHABURI (FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Eastern Region Pre-Qualifiers) – The first round of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Eastern Region Pre-Qualifiers have come. One team has been eliminated, one team remains undefeated, and 6 teams are hungry for those final four tickets to the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qulifiers.

Here are some things that we have learned for the first three days of competition to set up what we can expect for in the final three.

See you next time, Fiji

After three straight losses, Fiji are now officially out of contention for the FIBA Asia Cup finishing in 4th place of Group B.

They lost their games by a sizeable margin, an average deficit of 27 points but they showed heart in every single contest. Leading the way was 24-year-old star, Joshua Fox, who had his biggest game of the tournament in the last game with 29 points, 22 rebounds, and 7 assists. There was still not enough from the supporting cast to help Fiji pull through for a win.

Despite going winless, there was plenty of potential from Fiji to look forward to. With Fox as the cornerstone, Fiji now has a better picture of how to build their program moving forward. Guys like Isimeli Koroi, who is only 20-years-old and averaged 5.0 points and 4.3 rebounds could be a prospect to invest in developing for next time. 

Thailand triple-pronged offense

In the past three games, Thailand has shown that they have several ways to attack. Whether it is the all-around presence of Moses Morgan, going down low to Chanatip Jakrawan, or attacking in the open court with Chitchai Ananti, Thailand has their ways of getting their points.

In their loss against Guam however, the offense sputtered once those options couldn’t get going.

Ananti had his way in the first half, but he couldn’t get on the board again once the pace of the game slowed down. Jakrawan was dogged with foul trouble from the start, limiting his confidence and aggressiveness to attack Guam’s physical frontline.

Once Guam’s offense needed to focus only on Morgan, it became so much more difficult for him to create his own shots.

Currently, Thailand has a nice balance attacking the basket but coach Marty needs to build up a go to guy to get the ball to when the offense comes to a stall.

The determination of Guam

Things were looking up for Thailand in their first half against Guam. Shots weren’t falling for Earnest Ross or JP Cruz and Thailand were able to attack in transition for quick points. They burst open a 14-3 run to close the first quarter and even take the lead. Foul trouble was piling up for Guam and Curtis Washington was ejected after receiving a technical foul not long after committing an unsportsmanlike foul.

Even with everything seeming to go Thailand’s way… they still ended up losing to Guam by 21 points.

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😤That's how you can finish it @earnestross33 🇬🇺 @guamelitebasketball

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Ross cranked up his shooting. Tai Wesley attacked even harder down low. Everything started clicking again and next thing you know, it turned into a double-digit lead once again.

It just goes to show that Guam came into this tournament ready to dominate and will not be shaken by a rough patch or two. As the game neared it’s end with Guam holding a comfortable lead, the players were reacting happily to how the team was playing and how they had rallied through their first half hurdles.

There are three more games left for Guam and if they can keep this level of focus up, they could very well end up sweeping the competition. 

Delvin is back

The game against Thailand was rough for Singapore’s Delvin Goh, especially coming in with so much expectation to take over for Singapore. A 9-point, 12-rebound game wasn’t entirely bad but his 4/15 left much to be desired. Goh took a rest in the game against Fiji and looked rusty at the start of today’s game, picking up some quick fouls.

It took some time, but Goh finally got into his groove before ending the game with 19 points, 12 rebounds, and, most importantly, 5 assists.

While Singapore was outstretching their lead over Fiji, Goh’s movement looked more fluid and he finished more aggressively – take this baseline drive dunk for example.

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🇸🇬@delvingoh with a highlight reel dunk😶🚨 @basketballsingapore #FIBAAsiaCup #dunk

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Singapore will need Goh to continue his mean streak more than ever now with an important game against Malaysia coming up. The match could very well decide the final ticket to the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers and Singapore needs their big man star at his best.

Return of Indonesia

Indonesia dominated from start to finish, not showing any trouble to fend off the upstart Macau national team. All of Indonesia’s players got in on the action and got on the scoreboard, once again returning to the form that they were in when they swept the SEABA Pre-Qualifiers.

There are certainly some areas to polish (the level of guard play is still a notch down from previous squads), but Indonesia displayed other things that made them such a good team in the previous round that they seemed missing in their loss to Malaysia.

Coach Roring cut down the turnovers (from 21 to 12) and got the ball moving around more (from 16 assists to 26 assists). The most important development between the first two games is the shooters starting to find their shooting touch. Indonesia shot only 4/18 from downtown against Malaysia, but were able to known down 9/22 in the win against Macau.

Tough games are up ahead for Indonesia in Guam, Thailand, and Singapore and it is important that the teams gets back into the form of the best three-point shooting team from the SEABA Pre-Qualifying round.