China was able to extend its consecutive Olympic qualification streak to nine as they were crowned champions at the 2015 Men’s Asian Basketball Championships The 16 team tournament consisted of two group stage rounds and a quarterfinal elimination round where the winner qualifies to the Olympics. The Men’s Asian Championship was held in Changsa, China from September 23rd to October 3rd 2015.
Pre-tournament favourites Iran and China went undefeated in groups A and C respectively, but South Korea almost pulled an upset against China by going up 27-14 after the first quarter. China was able to recover and through a strong fourth quarter was able to win 76-73. The surprise of the first group stage round was Palestine whom also went undefeated in Group B including a thrilling comeback against the Philippines where they took and held the lead with just 18 seconds remaining. Despite losing their final group game Qatar was able to finish on top of Group D by defeating Kazakhstan and Lebanon in overtime.
The second group stage combined the top three from groups A and B and from C and D with scores against advancing teams getting carried over. Despite being the star of the first round Palestine was unable to translate its success into the second round where they lost all three of their games and finished eliminated from the group stage. The Philippines made their intentions known in this round by winning all three of its matches including an 87-73 win over Iran as they topped Group E. China was the best team of Group F as they continued to be undefeated. The final spot to the quarterfinals came down to Lebanon and Jordan where Lebanon took a 15 point lead at the half. While Jordan was able to cut into the lead Lebanon did just enough to prevent the comeback and to advance to the quarterfinals by winning 80-76.
The quarterfinals went generally as expected. China scored the biggest win by defeating India 104-58 while Iran and Japan had very strong first quarters and coasted to victory over South Korea and Qatar respectively. In the final quarterfinal match while Lebanon tried its hardest to catch the Philippines they were always one step ahead of them as the Philippines slowly extended its lead to win 82-70.
The most anticipated match of the tournament happened a round early, but it turned to be a bit of a letdown as China quickly went to a 20-12 lead by the end of the first quarter. Iran did look as if they would close the gap during the first part of the second, but China was able to recover its lead. At that point Iran never really threatened the lead as China qualified to the final with a 70-57 win.
The other semi-final turned to be quite the thriller at first as both teams traded leads during the first half. It looked like the Philippines was going to take over the match in the third quarter, but Japan was able to catch-up and both teams were tied at 54 going into the final quarter. From the beginning of the fourth the Philippines took the lead and never relinquished it as they comfortably won 81-70 to reach their second final in a row.
The final began with the Philippines taking an early lead, however China was able to rebound and took the lead just before the end of the first quarter. China was able to extend its lead to the score of 46-35 by half-time. At this time the Philippines was able to stop China’s gains, but was never able to mount much of a comeback as China maintained a double digit lead and ended up winning and qualifying to the Olympics 78-67. Iran took the bronze medal as they defeated Japan 68-63.
China will be looking for a breakthrough tournament as they will attempt to better their best ever ranking of 8th which was achieved in three different Olympics. For the Philippines, Iran and Japan they will have one more chance to qualify as they will now compete at one of the final Olympic qualification tournaments for the final three spots.
- South Korea
- Hong Kong
- Chinese Taipei
- FIBA. Men’s Asian Basketball Championships Schedule/Results. Access on October 3 2015.