Iran to face Philippines in Asian basketball final

Manila, Aug 11 (IANS) Two-time Asian champions Iran remained unbeaten in the 27th Asian Men's Basketball Championship here after beating Chinese Taipei 79-60 and will play hosts Philippines in the final.

As the defending champions in 2011, Iran carelessly lost to Jordan in the quarterfinals and gave away the chance to win the Asian title three times in a row.

Facing Chinese Taipei, who eliminated defending champions China Friday, Iran had a slow start Saturday and let the Taipei zoom to a 23-14 lead in the opening quarter, reports Xinhua.

Iran woke up with a sizzling 17-0 run with the help from playmaker Mahdi Kamrany, who poured in 10 of his game-high 19 points in the second period.

Chinese Taipei never recovered in the second half as they fell behind by 21 points in the third quarter.

Iran's solid defence limited the shooting accuracy of Chinese Taipei, which helped them in their historical first win against China.

Taipei only got four points in that quarter, which is their worst quarter in the tournament.

Elsewhere, hosts Philippines beat South Korea 86-79 in the other semifinal and now have the chance to win their sixth Asian title.

Philippines captain Jimmy Alapag hit a huge three late in the final period as they finally got by their foes to secure a berth in the 2014 World Cup in Spain.

Alapag buried a triple with 54 seconds left to give Philippines an 84-79 lead and the chance to challenge unbeaten Iran in the final.

Philippines played most of the match without Marcus Douthit, who only played for 13 minutes and seemed to have aggravated his right calf injury midway through the second quarter.

He asked to subbed out and didn't return after scoring only two points.

But Jayson Williams stood up for the hosts. He obliterated South Korea's defence with his unmatched quickness and scored on three straight drives as Philippines got a 40-30 lead early in the second half since taking a 13-10 run.

The South Koreans began hitting shots and grabbed the lead (74-73). Alapag and Ranidel de Ocampo allowed the hosts to take a one-point lead, going into the final two minutes. Successive triples from De Ocampo and Alapag eventually allowed Philippines to take the win.

South Korea and Chinese Taipei will battle for the bronze and the last berth of the World Cup while Iran and Philippines have automatically qualified.

In a rematch of the 2011 final, veteran Wang Zhizhi surged for 33 points and willed China past Jordan 79-76. Wesam Al-Sous led Jordan's rally in the final period with his corner triple with one minute left, giving Jordan a 74-73 lead. After the timeout, Wang gave China the lead at 76-74.

Yi Jianlian then made one of his two free-throw shooting. Al-Sous misfired on a potential game-tying three-pointer. Yi then made in two more free-throws to secure China the victory and avoided an embarrassment after their loss to Chinese Taipei.

China will play the fifth-place classification match against Qatar.


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