Second Loss for Iran, Japan Keeps on Winning

Second Loss for Iran, Japan Keeps on Winning
Second Loss for Iran, Japan Keeps on Winning

Japan has become the true giant slayer of the Asian Qualifiers after cutting down Iran, another powerhouse on home turf.

A couple of key Iranian players were absent, and Japan took full advantage, notching its fourth triumph in succession, 70-56, and putting itself in prime position to threaten the teams at the top half of the Group F team standings, reported.

Bucking the absence of veterans Hamed Haddadi and Samad Nikkhah-Bahrami, who were both sidelined with injury, Iran rode the hot shooting of Behnam Yakhchali in the first half, but Japan head coach Julio Lamas made key adjustments that enabled the host to turn the tables around in the second half.

The Akatsuki Five went on a telling 26-8 blast in the third quarter, erecting a double-digit lead from which Iran could not recover.

The home team was on cruise control entering the fourth period and proceeded to treat the sellout Ota Gymnasium crowd to yet another pulsating win.

The dynamic duo of Rui Hachimura and Yuta Watanabe once again served notice of Japan’s bright future.

Hachimura scored 25 points, grabbed 7 rebounds and had 3 assists in another stellar showing, while Watanabe added 18 points of his own.

Even without big man Nick Fazekas, it is clear Japan has more than enough firepower to beat even the strongest of Asian squads.

As for Iran, Yakhchali finished with a team-high 21 points, while Meisam Mirazaei tried his best to anchor the middle for the visitors with 10 points and 8 rebounds. Things will not get any easier for Iran as its next game is on the road against Australia on November 30 and Japan will play host to Qatar on the same date.


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