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22 November, 2021
28 February, 2023
5 Freddy Ibrahim (JOR), Jordan v Saudi Arabia
25/11/2021
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Group C Preview: Jordan, Lebanon aim to stay undefeated

BEIRUT (Lebanon) & JEDDAH (Saudi Arabia) - There were no surprises in the first games Group C of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers looking purely at the win-loss results. However, taking a deeper dive into the games tells a more intriguing story and gives a better perspective of what to expect in the rematch.

True to form Tall Cedars

Offensive firepower been continuously emphasized as this current Lebanon squad’s strong suit. They averaged nearly 100 points per game through the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers and didn’t miss much of a beat, going for 96 here in the first game of the World Cup Qualifiers.

With their offense coming from all over the roster in this previous game against Indonesia, fans should be able to expect another high scoring game from Lebanon once again.

Another important note: keep your eyes on Yousef Khayat whenever he takes the court.

Shake it off

Indonesia shot 7-44 from beyond the three-point line which converts to only 15.9 percent. That’s obviously a far cry from the 37.2 percent they shot during the Asia Cup Qualifiers which was good enough for 4th among all teams.

Three-point shooting wasn’t the only area in which Indonesia could have improved on, but it would have definitely helped the team get things going. A large part of the credit goes to the perimeter of Lebanon’s perimeter defense, but it might be a different kind of game if Indonesia can find their groove early on.

Not having a big body like Lester Prosper in the paint should have also effected the confidence of the Indonesia long range gunners, but they are going to have to adapt to that adjustment should they want to turn things around.

Showing off that personality

Jordan’s head coach, Wesam Al-Sous, and floor general, Freddy Ibrahim, both agreed two things about their first Qualifiers game: they started the game very poorly, but showed great personality but fighting back to win despite that poor form.

This is definitely not good news for Saudi Arabia, who were on the wrong end of a 16-0 run in the fourth quarter to a team that repeatedly mentions that they “didn’t play well.”

Look for the big men of Jordan to step up in the next game, especially John Bohannon, after allowing Saudi Arabia to dominate them on the boards.

Closer

This is a familiar story for Saudi Arabia. Face a strong, highly regarded team (like Iran, Jordan), play very impressively in the early stages of the game, and set off every upset alert there is in the Asia basketball scene only to end up painfully close to pulling it off.

Kudos to coach Ali Alsanhani for hanging in tight with these top-tiered teams, putting on display how good Saudi Arabia can be on the hardwood. The next step for this team, however, is to be able to close games out and control the tempo.

Khalid Abdel Gabbar has shown in the past that he is capable of coming up in clutch situations, but the team might need one or two more players to help him out in that regard.

With that being said, Saudi Arabia have shown that they have the potential to take down Jordan in their homecourt. Returning to Jeddah to play in the rematch should give them an extra boost of energy that might just be enough for them to pull off this upset.

Player(s) to Watch

John Bohannon (JOR): It might not have been the debut that Bohannon hoped for on an individual level after going scoreless on 0 shot attempts in almost 22 minutes of play, but he’ll get the chance to bounce back and show what he’s going in a quick turnaround.

Jordan’s big men need to step up a bit and Bohannon could be one of the prime candidates to do so.

Yousef Khayat (LBN): We highlighted Khayat as a Player to Watch in the previous preview and we’re leaving him here just to emphasize how much you really need to watch this 18-year-old play. He’s bulked up a lot since FIBA fans saw him at the U18 Asian Championship back in 2018 and he’s using that to his advantage against his opponents.

 

Anadakara Prastawa Dhyaksa (INA): Tough game for the point guard, going 1-9 from the field and 1-7 from the three-point line. Prastawa is a guy who can get his team going by connecting on big shots and he certainly has the skills to do so.

Indonesia currently lack the size and physicality to matchup head on with Lebanon in that area, so going with speed and long range shooting - two things that Prastawa is known for - could be the way to go.

Mathna Almarwani (KSA): It was a frustrating game for the younger Almarwani as he could neither get his shots to go in nor stay out of foul trouble. Looking back at the past games for Saudi Arabia, Mathna’s inconsistent presence was probably a big factor as to why they couldn’t keep the momentum on their side.

With the matchup heading home to Jeddah, expect Mathna to be fired up and bounce back in front of friends and family.

FIBA