Overcoming a four-point deficit in the final 85 seconds of the contest, Iran closed out the game with a 6-0 run to top the hosts 53-51 in the title game of the fourth FIBA Asia Cup Basketball Tournament in Tokyo, Japan, late yesterday afternoon to run away with the gold medal.
Aren Davoudi’s three-pointer with 19 ticks remaining in the game brought the Iranians from as many as six down in the second half to take a 53-51 lead, and Samad Nikhhah Bahrami backed up his top-player billing with a game-saving block of a shot by Japan’s Takatoshi Furukawa and came up with the ensuing defensive rebound to preserve the victory for the champs.
It was a classic confrontation between the East and the West that saw Iran jumping to a 13-11 lead after the opening quarter and increasing to 30-23 at the half, before the hosts fought back with a brilliant third quarter to claim a lead of their own as late as the 30-second mark before the eventual collapse.
China 67, Taiwan 63
Inability to connect on a pair of three-point attempts that would have turned the game around in the closing seconds left Taiwan a tad short of China in a 67-63 final as the Islanders fell to China in the battle for the fifth-place finish.
Lin Chih-jeh and Lee Hsueh-lin had the opening threes that skipper Hsu Chin-che had drawn up, which would have turned a two-point deficit into a one-point lead in the closing seconds.
However, neither player was able to hit their mark with the game on the line, dampening a valiant comeback rally by Taiwan a bit in the end.
“The shots were there as we had drawn them up, we just didn’t knock them down,” Hsu said after the game.
Taiwan overcame deficits as large as seven points and actually held leads as big as five points in the second half, before faltering in the final quarter to lose this one the hard way.
Meanwhile, Qatar cruised past the Philippines 79-63 in the bronze medal game to secure the third-place finish.
Lebanon dominated Uzbekistan for an 84-73 win to close out this year’s play with a seventh-place finish.