Meet the Asia Cup 2022 Teams: Syria
JAKARTA (Indonesia) - Through all of the situations that Syria have faced internally over the years, the spirit of the men’s basketball national team has always remained strong.
Now, they’re back for another edition of the Asia Cup.
Let’s take a quick moment to meet Syria in this "Meet the Teams" series!
World Rank according to FIBA World Ranking Presented by Nike: 83
After a series of strong performances over the years playing in the World Cup Qualifiers and Asia Cup Qualifiers, Syria have been one of the highest rising national teams in the FIBA World Ranking.
At the beginning of the Asia Cup Qualifiers, Syria were at 100 in the Rankings. Throughout the Qualifiers, Syria also took a major leap of 10 spots after the February 2021 Window, carried by their upset win against Iran.
The Qasioun Eagles have been flying high.
Asia Cup Debut: 1999
Syria played in the Asia Cup for the first time in China. They were drawn to Group C along with the hosts and were able to advance to the next phase with a win against Malaysia.
In the Classification Game for 7th place, Syria were unable to hold on to a first half lead and lost to Lebanon 61-60 resulting in an 8th place finish in their debut campaign.
Asia Cup Appearances (including 2022): 7
After making their debut in 1999, Syria played in two more consecutive Asia Cups in 2001 and 2003. However, their appearances since then have been spread out across the past two decades.
After being able to qualify for Asia Cup 2022, this will be the first time since 2003 that they’ve been able to play in consecutive Asia Cups.
Most Recent Appearance: 2017
Syria had missed out playing in Asia Cups 2013 and 2015, but were able to make a return in 2017. Fired up for their return, Syria nearly upset Jordan 68-66 in their first game and beat India to advance to the Qualifying Round to the Quarter-Finals.
Despite a valiant effort by Michael Madanly, Syria were unable to hold on to a 4th quarter lead and missed out on reaching the Quarter-Finals in an 81-79 loss.
Best Position in Final Standings: 4th place (2001)
In what only their second Asia Cup at the time, Syria made some noise with a stunning run.
In the Group Phase, Syria finished in first place over Japan to make it to the Qualifying Round for the Semi-Finals. From there, they were able to beat Qatar and India to breakthrough to be among the final four teams.
In the end, their run stopped with a loss to China and they ended up at 4th place with an overtime lost to Korea.
Making it to the Semi-Finals in just their second Asia Cup campaign ever is still quite impressive.
Notable Player(s): Michael Madanly
One of the stars from that historic Syria run to 4th place in Asia Cup 2001 was Michael Madanly. It was his debut Asia Cup but that didn’t stop the super scorer, who was 20-years-old at the time, pouring in 17.0 points per game. This included a 30-point game that nearly took down Korea in the third-place game.
Other than his scoring prowess, Madanly is also well-known for his longevity. As impressive as Madanly was in his debut Asia Cup, he was just as impressive 16 years later in Asia Cup 2017 at 36-years-old, dropping 20.5 points per contest against some of Asia’s best teams.
Madanly's peak was in Asia Cup 2007 where he led the tournament with 33.1 points per game. During that stretch, he had two 40-point games and a string of four consecutive contests scoring over 33 points.
More than just the points that he scores on the court, Madanly has always been a familiar face with Syria basketball. He’s inspired players not only in Syria, but all over Asia as well.
How they got here:
Syria’s road through the Asia Cup Qualifiers was a roller coaster, to say the least.
In each of the three windows, Syria split their games with one win and one loss each time. In Window 1, they went from losing badly to Iran, to beating a solid Saudi Arabia squad in Jeddah immediately in their next game.
The following window was even more unpredictable. They started with a loss to Qatar, who even failed to make it to Asia Cup 2022, but rebounded with a historic win against Iran.
It was certainly not the smoothest road to Asia Cup 2022, but Syria took this path and they’ll be playing in Jakarta nonetheless.
Current Outlook: Search for consistency
Syria have the talent, but have an issue of getting the talents on the team to play at a consistent level. As was seen during the Qualifiers, they could go from beating any team throw at them in one game to losing a frustrating battle in the next.
They’ll have a chance to piece things together in the two games of Window 3 in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers against Iran and Bahrain. But after that, Syria will have to figure out a way to keep their ship rocking in the right direction in hopes of another deep Asia Cup run.