In Day 1 of the third edition of the FIBA Asia Stankovic Cup taking place in Beirut, the hosts Lebanon started the game in cruise control, never giving the Philippines a chance at all to catch up, winning Game 1 of round robin play 74 -59. Fadi El Khatib, the Lebanese superstar returning from an injury, played for a bit more than 13 minutes and looked rusty as he scored a mere 4 points, grabbed 6 rebounds and dished 3 assists. Rony Fahed led the winners with a game-high 23 points, all but six of them in the first half, while Ali Mahmoud complimented him with an excellent second half, totaling 12 points in the game. Joseph Casio had 15 points and Marnel Baracel had 15 points for the Philippines, who will be playing Syria tomorrow, which lost to Qatar earlier today. Meanwhile, the Lebanese will be taking a break and resume to action against Syria on Monday.
After a 23 year absence, Iraq started their first game in a FIBA Asian competition on a high note, only to slip in a 76-65 decision to a young Kazakhstan team that is in rebuilding mode with players from the silver medal finish in the Asian championship U18 in 2008 and FIBA World Championship in New Zealand last year. One man show Michael Shamon’s game-leading 22 points weren’t enough for the Iraqi team, who had two other players score in double digits, while an all-around team effort by the winners were led by Dmitry Gavrilov’s 17 points. Both face the Chinese Taipei in their next games, with Kazakhstan going at them tomorrow while Iraq will rest and face them on Monday.
The second game of the day was a close one between the travel-weary teams Japan and the Chinese Taipei, with the former hanging on after an early 10 point lead with a scrappy 61-58 win. The game was marked by its lousy 3 point shooting on both sides, each hitting a miserable 18% of their 3 pointers. The difference showed in the rebounds, with Japan controlling the boards on a 35-16 advantage thanks to Kosuke Takeuchi’s eight. Takuya Kawamura had 15 points for winning Japan, who will face Iran on Sunday, while Chen Tzu – Wei had a game high 17 points for the Taipei, who face Kazakhstan tomorrow.
In a high scoring game unlike the rest of the games played today, Targuy Ngombo’s cup-high 39 points were more than enough to offset Michel Madanly’s 35 to ensure a Qatar 83-75 victory over the Syrian team. Qatar put a more convincing display of game throughout the entire game, with a 12-0 run. Ngombo had help from his teammates, Mame Ndour with 18 points and 13 rebounds and Saad Ali’s 14 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds while none of the Syrians were able to crack the 10 point limit other than Madanly. Qatar will be Jordan’s first test in this tournament tomorrow while Syria will be searching for its first win by playing the Philippines.
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