After the two big games today, every basketball fan got what he wished for.
Two semi finals, both close games that were decided on a shot.
That shot went in, and helped Japan win.
That shot went out, and put Lebanon in the final.
In a rematch of the Opening Day game, Lebanon and the Philippines faced a game that had fans from both teams, a rare feat, in the Ghazeer stadium. Unlike the first match however, this was a close game that went on to the last seconds after a last second shot by the Philippines barely touched the rim, giving Lebanon their sixth straight win and helping them remain the only undefeated team in this tournament. After leading by as much as 10 in the 4th quarter, the Filipino team kept on doing what it did best; knock down 3 pointers, yet at a more constant rate to bring down the score to one point, 78-77. Yet with a lot of free throws made and missed, the score reached 81-80 and the Philippines had one more chance to win the game but missed a long three pointer to end a not so bad run for them in this tournament, while Lebanon continue their journey to the gold medal game in hopes of winning this tournament undefeated. Fadi El Khatib, improving game after game while recovering from an injury, had 25 points and 7 rebounds but 6 of his team’s 10 turnovers. Jackson Vroman helped the Lebanese team as well with his 23 points while Marcio Lassiter had 25 points for the Philippines.
Lebanon will be facing Japan, who outlasted Qatar in overtime 78-76 thanks to its great player Takuya Kawamura, who tied the score in regular time at 64 with a crucial three pointer and then another shot in OT to stop a Qatar rally back in the game. Kawamura led the Japanese with 18 points, 8 in the last quarter, with 4 other players in double digit scoring. Meanwhile, Targuy Ngombo was Qatar’s go-to guy and led the game with 31 points, but they weren’t enough to give the 2004 champs another crack at the title.
Tomorrow at 9 PM, the final will take place as both teams played each other a best of 3 series in Japan where the hosts lost the series 2-1 as this game is expected to be very interesting since both teams are performing at a very good level in this Cup.