China rout Malaysia in Asian basketball

Manila, Aug 3 (IANS) Defending champion China bounced back to thrash Malaysia 113-22 while Hamed Haddadi scored 15 of his 30 points in the final quarter to lift Iran over South Korea 76-56 at the 27th Asian Men's Basketball Championship here.

China suffered a 59-63 defeat against arch-rivals South Korea in their opening match Thursday but they quickly recovered with a dominant performance against Malaysia Friday. Rookie Wang Zhelin led with a match-high 21 points and eight rebounds, reports Xinhua.

China played without former NBA player Yi Jianlian, who's still dealing with a hamstring injury, as four players scored in double figures to power them. Wang Zhizhi, who only played three minutes Thursday, added 17 and Zhu Fangyu and Guo Ailun both scored 16 points.

China will play Iran in their final group match Saturday, against whom they lost in the 2009 final in Tianjin, while South Korea face minnows Malaysia.

Haddadi had an unstoppable performance in the final period against South Korea as the former NBA player poured in 15 points in a variety of moves underneath the basket including a couple of beautiful plays with point guard Mahdi Kamrany, who dished out a game-high nine assists.

Haddadi also grabbed a match-high 13 rebounds. Samad Nikkhah Bahrami chipped in 23 points, 12 of which cam from the third quarter.

In other matches, Bahrain suffered their second overtime loss in two days as they were beaten 76-79 by Kazakhstan and India defeated Thailand 89-65 to seize their first win in Group D.

Chinese Taipei beat Saudi Araba 90-67 to top Group A and the hosts Philippines came from behind to beat Jordan 77-71.

Japan are top of Group B followed by Hong Kong and China.