Sports
0

Testing Team Pilipinas at Azadi Stadium

Iran has not yet lost at home, and as long as its form holds, the team should remain unbeaten even in the face of a highly motivated and rejigged Philippines
In its latest game in the tournament Iran beat Kazakhstan 88-56 at home Azadi Stadium in July.In its latest game in the tournament Iran beat Kazakhstan 88-56 at home Azadi Stadium in July.

Iran is aiming to extend its winning streak in the Asian Qualifiers of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup, but the feisty Filipinos stand in the way.

New Team Pilipinas head coach Yeng Guiao has yet to name his final 12-man roster for the Thursday game against Iran in Tehran’s Azadi Indoor Stadium, but he has said he is planning to have Christian Standhardinger up front. If so, the Filipino-German big man should have an interesting time matching up against Iranian behemoth Hamed Haddadi, FIBA.Basketball reported.

At 2.02m, Standhardinger gives up a lot of size against Haddadi (2.18m), but what Standhardinger lacks in height, he makes up for in cunning. If Standhardinger is able to sink some midrange shots while also effectively run the break, he can give even the seasoned Haddadi some fits.

Samad Nikkhah Bahrami was one of the surprise packages for Iran in the first round, leading the Asian Qualifiers in assists with nearly 7 a game, and his playmaking will be a critical factor for Iran’s chances to keep winning. An old foe - Marcio Lassiter - awaits Bahrami, and since the last time they faced each other back in 2011, this should be a very interesting reunion.

It is uncanny how Bahrami continues to find new ways to still be quite effective for Iran, while Lassiter has risen to be the Philippines’ top shooting guard. It should be a very entertaining and competitive matchup.

 Home Power

Iran has not yet lost at home, and as long as its form holds, the team should remain unbeaten even in the face of a highly motivated and rejigged Philippines. Even if Greg Slaughter is fit and ready to bang bodies with Haddadi, the latter still holds a clear advantage and should have little trouble making a big impact in the contest.

Bahrami should also be in fine form, and with rising stars Behnam Yakhchali, Sajjad Mashayekhi and Meisam Mirzaei also chipping in, Iran is heavily favored to notch its sixth straight triumph.

Philippine basketball has received a much needed shot in the arm thanks to a new head coach and a slew of new players injected into the pool.

Up from Group D, Iran lost only one match to Iraq 74-66 in Amman, Jordan, last November. But in a game of vengeance Iran thrashed the Iraqi side 83-53 in February.

In the current FIBA World Ranking, Iran is on 25th place and Philippines is 30th. In the latest international show, Iran finished second at the Jakarta Asian Games losing the final match to China.

The 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup will be held in China, August 31-September 15, 2019, with 32 teams.

Attending the Thursday match is free.

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints

Financialtribune.com