As you all know by now, Lebanon is hosting the 3rd FIBA Asia Stankovic Cup, which will take place in Ghazir Court Club from August 7 until August 15. There will be ten national teams playing, including the hosts and 2009 FIBA Asian Champions in Iran. Other nations that will participate going to be defending champs Jordan, who needed a wild card in order to qualify ( Never heard of that happen to anyone in any sport :S ), Iraq and Syria, who qualified from West Asia, 2004 champion Qatar that represents the Gulf, the Philippines from Southeast Asia, runner ups Kazakhstan from Middle Asia. East Asia will be represented by the Chinese Taipei and Japan.
This tournament is like the FIBA Asian Championship minus the Chinese team (the real Chinese team with Yao Ming and co.), since China plays in the FIBA Stankovic Continental Champions Cup, where they finished with a bronze medal.
The ten teams are divided into two groups, with Iran, Kazakhstan, Chinese Taipei, Iraq and Japan in Group A and Jordan, Lebanon, Philippines, Qatar, and Syria in Group B. All but the last team from each group advance to the quarterfinals, eventually leading to the semi-finals, and the final game.
This tournament is not just some random tournament where all the Asian teams show-off their teams or get ready for the World Cup. The winners qualify automatically for the 2011 FIBA Asian Championship, which will also be hosted in Beirut, where the winner of that qualifies for the 2012 Olympics in London, while the top 5 teams will earn berths for their respective FIBA Asia sub zones.
From August 7 till August 11, round robin play will be taking place, where every team will have a one day break. Group A’s games will be at 3:00 PM and 5:00 PM, while Group B’s games will be at 7:00 PM and 9:00 PM, Beirut time, except for Day 1, where the hosts Lebanon will play the Philippines at 9:30 PM.
The opener will be Kazakhstan vs. Iraq, who hasn’t played since the 14th FIBA Asian Championship back in 1987, and the group stage play will end with the Lebanese playing Qatar.
After their successful run at the William Jones Cup in the Chinese Taipei in the past month, where Lebanon won all but one game and lost to the eventual champion Iran, the Lebanese seem to be receiving great news as their superstar Fadi El Khatib is back to training after he sustained an injury in addition to the fact that our country is hosting a major event since the FIBA Asia Champions Cup for clubs back in 1999 and 2000 which is a great thing as it will bring the fans to watch their national team play in their home country. Coach Tab Baldwin hopes that the Lebanese will play good basketball before anything else and then win the competition.
Looking forward to seeing all of our fans rooting for our country, as this is the warm ups for the World Cup!
Below is the schedule for the round robin play for the first 5 days of the tournament, taken off Fibaasia.net:
|All times Beirut local (GMT + 0300 Hrs)|