U18 Team Drops Out of Asian Basketball Championships

Iran basketball team members after the loss to New ZealandIran basketball team members after the loss to New Zealand

The World Cup berth evaded Iran’s U18 team after it lost the quarterfinal match 87-72 to New Zealand in the Asian U18 Basketball Championships on Thursday in Nonthaburi, Thailand.

The Asian Championships also works as the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup qualifier for the continent.

New Zealanders started on the offensive early in first quarter to achieve a 21-14 victory, marking a 7-point gap with Iran. In the second quarter, Iranian teenagers’ effort reversed the result and they ended the quarter with a 21-17 win.

Seemingly, the Kiwis were faster to learn the tricks of the game as they regained power in the third Q to down the Iranians 25-15. Despite Iran pacing up in the last Q, it was New Zealand edging Iran 24-22 to secure a place in the semis against China and sealing a World Cup quota as the top four teams of the game will represent the ancient continent in the world games. The four qualified teams are China, New Zealand, Australia and the Philippines.

The unfortunate Iran loss came as something of a surprise as the title holder had finished its group stage games in perfect form without a loss.

Iran won the last edition of the biennial games in 2016. It is the second most decorated team in the history of the games with three trophies after China with a jaw-dropping eleven titles record.

Now partaking in the classification games, Iran defeated South Korea 89-81 in a game of honor. In four give-and-take quarters, Iran won the first set 22-11. In the second Q, South Korean rage resulted in a 30-17 loss for Iran. The third Q points were again for Iranian when they finished 31-17.  The fourth set finished 23-19 in favor of the Koreans, however, their effort did not fill the point gap and Iran emerged as the victor.

The biennial event in Thailand ends on Sunday.


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