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Jul 30, 2013
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fiba asia 2013 championships philippines
Forget the NBA, the PBA, the UAAP, the NCAA, and your obscure inter-color league for the meantime. Because this August 1-11, only one basketball tournament is relevant: the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championship.

Fifteen of the best teams (you mad, Lebanon?) in the region will clash for hoops supremacy and the right to be crowned Kings of Asia—or emperors to be more apt. Also at stake: three much-coveted tickets to the 2014 FIBA World Championship in Spain.

This will definitely be a bombastic buffet of tasty throwdowns, delicious dimes, and sumptuous swats from the continent’s cream of the crop (sorry, we missed breakfast). So to whet your grumbling appetite, here’s a supersized FIBA-Asia preview just for all you loyal readers.


GROUP Afiba asia 2013 championships philippines
Chinese-Taipei


2011 Finish:
8th place (4-5)
No. of appearances: 22
No. of titles: 0
Head coach: 
Chin-tse Hsu
Key players: 
Wen-Ting Tseng, Quincy Davis, Cheh-Chieh Lin, Shih-Chieh Chen

The Taiwanese will make chiayi out of the opposition because: They have a young core that can play tenacious defense.

At the forefront of Chinese-Taipei’s attack is naturalized American Quincy Davis. The 6-foot-9 workhorse out of Tulane University will provide the much-needed inside scoring and a boost in the rebounding department, especially after the team finished 13thin the category in 2011 with a lowly 35.7 RPG.

His arrival will also allow veteran Wen-Ting Tseng to slide to his natural position at power forward. This will ease off some of the pressure on him to score on a nightly basis and prevent further damage on his long, smooth, jet-black hair. But more importantly, the two will form an intimidating tandem on defense. Both were named to the All-Defensive Team in the recent Jones Cup, where they led Chinese-Taipei to a silver medal. Remember the Bash Brothers from the Mighty Ducks movies? They’ll be Taiwan’s unlikely version of that.

If there’s any hindrance to their campaign, it’s their lack of familiarity with each other. Only six players from the 2011 roster are back, with Davis joining the team full-time just several months ago. There’s no doubt though that Chinese-Taipei is one of the dark horses in the tournament.   

Random trivia about Chinese-Taipei for your halftime break boasting: The number 4 is considered unlucky by the Taiwanese (so a foursome is frowned upon?).

Obligatory YouTube video:


Wen-Ting Tseng and Quincy Davis connecting at the 0:59 mark


Jordan

2011 Finish: Silver medal (5-4)
No. of appearances: 
13
No. of titles: 
0
Head coach: 
Vangelis Aleksandris
Key players: 
Wesam Al-Sous, Jimmy Baxter, Mahmoud Abdeen

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The Jordanians will make mansaf out of the opposition because: They have learned from past mistakes.

The squad took home the bronze medal in 2009 and the silver in 2011, bowing to China by only a single point. Following that logic, this should be the gold medal year of the Jordanians. That, however, will be a tough task. Their top three scorers for the longest time—Rasheim Wright, Sam Daghles, and Zaid Abbas—are all gone due to various reasons (none of them involving scars from shaving their facial hair). That leaves veteran playmaker Wesam Al-Sous as their chief local option.

Fortunately, they found a suitable naturalized replacement in Jimmy Baxter. The 33-year-old forward from University of South Florida will take over the scoring duties, exploiting his opponents with his experience and energy. He’s relentless on both ends of the floor as proven by his nods to the Mythical Five and All-Defensive Team in the Jones Cup.

But the loss of Daghles, Abbas, and Wright, who combined for 44.9 of Jordan’s 77.4 PPG in 2011, will be too much to bear. Plus, with a new coach in Vangelis Aleksandris, it looks like this year will be more of a transition phase than a victorious ride.

Random trivia about Jordan for your halftime break boasting: It is illegal in the country to take pictures of government and military buildings (no selfies in the city hall!).

Obligatory YouTube video:


Here’s Jordan giving up 12 straight free throws to Italy in a 2009 game


Philippines

2011 Finish: 4th place (6-3)
No. of appearances: 
25
No. of titles: 
5
Head coach: 
Chot Reyes
Key players: 
Marcus Douthit, Jeff Chan, Jayson Castro, Gabe Norwood

The Filipinos will make adobo out of the opposition because: The Philippines has assembled arguably its most cohesive national squad in history.

Head coach Chot Reyes and his wards have been together for quite some time now. By the time the tournament starts, they’ll all be sick and tired of each other’s faces and body odors—and that’s perfect. In international competition, chemistry is key. The Gilas boys genuinely enjoy playing together. They have a balanced roster of big men, snipers, and playmakers, all tailor-made for the team’s dribble-drive system. They even have a resbak in reserve Beau Belga just in case things get out of shape, err, hand.

Playing in front of the home crowd is also a major plus. Hearing the fans cheer their lungs out always adds oomph of energy. Only two teams have won the FIBA-Asia title the same year they hosted it: China and the Philippines. The Chinese have done it five times and the Filipinos twice. Here’s to hoping that third time will be a charm.  

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“Big Daddy” Marcus Douthit, who led the 2011 edition in points (21.9 PPG) and rebounds (12.2 RPG), will once again carry the Gilas’ charge. But this time around, he’ll have seasoned pro players to back him up. Laban, Pilipinas!

Random trivia about the Philippines for your halftime break boasting: The Manila Hotel is the first air-conditioned establishment in the country (the Balintawak market should probably be the last).

Obligatory YouTube video:


Saludo ang FHM sa Gilas!


Saudi Arabia

2011 Finish: Did not qualify
No. of appearances: 
8
No. of titles: 
0
Head coach: 
Nenad Kradzic
Key players: 
Nassir Abo Jalas, Fahad Belal, Jaber Kabe  

The Arabs will make shawarma out of the opposition because: They are hungry for a medal.

Okay, that one was bit of a copout. Honestly, we really don’t think that Saudi Arabia will go far. The team barely qualified in the tournament, finishing third in the relatively mediocre Gulf Basketball Championship. This will be the Arabs’ first appearance in the biennial meet since placing eighth in Doha in 2005. They simply aren’t too competitive in Asian basketball. Their highest finish in the FIBA-Asia is a bronze medal in 1999.   

Every single player in the lineup will be making their tournament debut and, safe to say, most of them will be overwhelmed by the competition. It’s like throwing a 12-year-old girl in the middle of a Metallica mosh pit. But if there’s a bright spot in the team, it’s Nassir Jalas, who just turned 19 last June. The athletic forward is expected to provide the scoring and spunk for the young crew.

As preparation for the Manila joust, the squad flew to Tunisia for a pocket tournament. But the outlook still isn’t shiny for the Arabs. The good thing is they’ll learn a lot from this year’s tourney. Also, their shawarma is very delicious.  

Random trivia about Saudi Arabia for your halftime break boasting: Thursdays and Fridays are the country’s official weekend days (so it’s Saturday sickness for the Arabs).

NEXT:  The "lucky" teams of Group B


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