Iran down Gilas to progress into final
Two-time defending champions Iran flexed their muscles early in the game, cruising to a 78-59 win over Smart Gilas-Pilipinas in the 33rd R. William Jones Cup at Hsinjhuang Stadium in New Taipei City, Taiwan yesterday.
Iran will now face South Korea, a 90-85 winner over hosts Taiwan, in the final today of the annual tournament that is held in honour of the late FIBA secretary general Renato William Jones.
The Philippines team, which scored a 73-59 opening game win over Iran, will meet Taiwan in the battle for third spot. The Philippines had overcome the host country 90-78 during the elimination rounds.
Iran’s big man, 7’2” Hamed Haddadi, who played for Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA, toyed with his defenders, shooting 14 of 22 from the floor to lead all scorers with 36 points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots.
Iran showed their true strength against the Philippines early in the match, opening up the contest with a 7-0 run and never looked back thereafter.
The closest the Philippines could get was at 13-11 with three minutes left in the first quarter.
Iran retaliated with a 9-0 spurt in the second period to establish a sizeable gap between themselves and the Filipinos.
Iran enjoyed a 36-27 halftime lead and broke the game wide open in the third quarter.
The Haddadi-led team enjoyed their biggest lead at 70-45 with 4:27 left in the final period.
Naturalised player Marcus Douthit finished with 16 points to lead Smart Gilas-Pilipinas, who played without starting ace guard JV Casio due to a swollen left knee.
The last time the Philippines won the championship was in 1998.
R. Williams Jones Cup
points, Haddadi scored for