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Iran to Meet NZ in FIBA U18 Asian C’ship Quarterfinal

Behshad Arabzadeh (No. 6) bagged 14 points with seven rebounds, five assists and two successful blocks.Behshad Arabzadeh (No. 6) bagged 14 points with seven rebounds, five assists and two successful blocks.

Iran U18 basketball team faces New Zealand on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the FIBA U18 Asian Championship in Nonthaburi, Thailand.

The national team secured its place in the quarterfinals after edging Japan 71-64 and taking the table top on Tuesday.

In a breathtaking contest, Iranian teenagers got the score for the first quarter after beating the samurais 16-13 but in the second quarter the Japanese push brought in results for them as they defeated Iran 18-17 with a bit of a charm.

The third quarter was also a showdown for Iranians when they made a three-point gap with their rival to win 21-18. The fourth and last quarter to determine the winner was a real challenge between sides in which Iran edged Japan 17-15 to keep its unbeaten run through the group stage and win a ticket to the quarterfinals.

Top performer of the national team Behshad Arabzadeh bagged 14 points with seven rebounds, five assists and two successful blocks. Keijiro Mitani was the top performer of the Samurais with seven points, three rebounds and only one block.

The winner of the Iran-Japan clashes has always shifted from one to another in a tit-for-tat style of the gaming between two. Iran defeated Japan 72-65 at the FIBA Asia U18 Championship for Men in 2014. In the 2016 edition of the tournament, it was Japan edging Iran 81-77 while in the current tournament the Iranians revenged their former loss with a close win.

Earlier in the tournament, Iran beat Indonesia 80-50 in the opening game at the championship. In the second match Iran overpowered Kazakhstan 86-54 in style. Iran is the only team of the group to win all three matches of the stage.

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