22 November, 2021
28 February, 2023
Thrilling trio of matchups on the slate in Window 1 of the Asian Qualifiers
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Thrilling trio of matchups on the slate in Window 1 of the Asian Qualifiers

BEIRUT (Lebanon) - We're closing in on the first window of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Asain Qualifiers and there's plenty of excitement in the air.

There's going to be a lot of basketball being played from November 26-29 and while it's highly recommended that the true fan should be glued to each and every game, we know that might not be possible for everyone.

That's why we've compiled a list of three exciting matchups should top your priority list for tuning in during this first window!

Jordan vs Saudi Arabia

November 26, 7:00 PM (GMT +2) in Amman, Jordan
November 29, 6:30 PM (GMT +3) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Jordan will certainly be heading into this matchup as favorites. They blasted their way unscathed through the Asia Cup Qualifiers and will be playing at home in the first of two games during this window. They have a talented young core that are only getting better with more experience playing with each other.

However, immediately counting out Saudi Arabia could be a big mistake.

While this will be Saudi Arabia's first time playing in the Qualifiers, they've been one of the teams to keep an eye on ever since playing through the Asia Cup Pre-Qualifiers. Opponents have spoken highly of their well-rounded roster and intensity, which has been apparent for fans to see as well.

The two sides have had some fun clashes in friendly tournaments leading up to this point, so we're expecting that to continue here with World Cup qualification on the line.

Player Matchup to Watch: Freddy Ibrahim (JOR) vs Khalid Abdel Gabar (KSA)

(Rosters are not yet finalized as of publication)

The two skilled guards are among the brightest stars on the team. They play similar roles in being initiators on the offensive end, ready to facilitate or score themselves.

Both players also have connected ties in hailing from Canada as well, so expect a friendly and fiery rivalry.

Kazakhstan vs Syria

November 26, 8:00 PM (GMT +6) in Astana, Kazakhstan
November 29, 6:00 PM (GMT +2) in Damascus, Syria

Both teams played a part in the last World Cup Qualifiers and both fell short. Each of them have made their way back and have actually made intriguing strides forward in development for this round.

Kazakhstan are a physical team with a balanced roster, which will make things difficult for Syria if these games become grind it out bouts.

In the opposite corner are Syria who are one of the more exciting teams to have made it through from the Asia Cup Qualifiers. It was a roller coaster where the team were on both winning and losing sides of big upsets, but there is plenty of optimism in the air with new additions both in the roster and team staff.

The most interesting part about these two games is the latter of the two contests which will be played in Damascus. Syria are a nation that have consistently put their passion for the game of  basketball on display. The situation in the country has made it difficult to host home games in the past, but now they are scheduled to be back.

There's no doubt that the fans will be excited to see their hardwood heroes in action, especially if it means they can witness the beginning of what could be a historic run to a World Cup debut.

Player Matchup to Watch: Maxim Marchuk (KAZ) vs Kemal Canbolat (SYR)

(Rosters are not yet finalized as of publication)

Marchuk is a high-flying dunker. The 6'11" (2.11 M) Canbolat is a towering presence in the paint. Something has got to give when they two eventually cross paths mid-air.

As fans, there's a good chance that you either get a monstrous poster dunk or an emphatic demoralizing swat. Seems like a win-win situation for spectators.

China vs Japan

November 27. 12:05 PM (GMT +9)
November 28, 18:35 PM (GMT +9)

Back. To. Back.

Not only will the fans be getting back-to-back games over the weekend, it's going to be a clash between two of Asia's giants: Japan and China.

It might seem as if there won't be much pressure on Japan as they have already qualified for the World Cup as co-hosts, but that might not be the case.

This will be a good opportunity for Japan to beat their long-time regional rivals in front of their own fans. They recently lost twice in a row to China in the Clark bubble of the Asia Cup Qualifiers, so evening up that up should be intriguing for the team. Moreover, newly appointed head coach Tom Hovasse will be making his debut and racking up his first win against China should make a great start.

China will be approaching the World Cup Qualifiers in a different manner than back in 2019 when they were guaranteed a spot as hosts. Expect them to come with plenty of force to make sure that they properly seal their ticket to the next stage.

Player Matchup to Watch: Yuki Togashi (JPN) vs Guo Ailun (CHN)

(Rosters are not yet finalized as of publication)

When there's a chance for two of the best point guards in Asia to match up, you are obliged to be excited about it.

Yuki Togashi is coming off an MVP season in Japan's B.League and remains in-form in the early stages of this season.

Guo Ailun has been among the top guards in the CBA for a while and with the way that he's playing, he'll be among the cream of the crop for quite a while.

Pit these two together in back-to-back matches with World Cup Qualification at stake and there's not much you can do but stamp a "must watch" alert.