FIBA Asia Basketball Championships 2015: Gallant Japan lose a close contest to vindictive ex-champs Iran

Sudhir Bose
Modified 03 Oct 2015
Bahrami was the wrecker-in-chief in Iran’s bronze-medal winning effort 

Fireworks were expected in the bronze medal game of the FIBA Asia Basketball Championships 2015, but they came in a more subtle avatar. Japan and Iran engaged in a chess match, with each one craftily snaking back into the game after being on the back foot. But Iran had a secret weapon that would outdo Japan’s gutsy comeback.

The first quarter was as fast-paced as expected, but Iran would outpace Japan to take a 13-3 lead. The former defending champs appeared to be venting the ire of yesterday’s defeat to China on their present opponents. Iran displayed the sort of play that made them a dominant force in Asian basketball for the last 8 years, with Bahrami scoring 16 points. the quarter ended with Iran leading 22-10 Japan.

Japan showed a lot more spirit in the 2nd quarter, cutting the lead to 4 at one point. In an inspiring play, Tabuse stole the ball off the Iranian giant Haddadi and passed to Matsui, who bucketed a 3. Matsui sunk 4 more threes to end the second quarter with Japan just  a nose ahead, at 31-29 Iran.

Iranian star Bahrami landed a 3 in the first few seconds of the 3rd quarter to give Iran a lead, but Matsui’s sublime shooting equalized. Japan were indomitable, keeping a narrow lead in the face of a fierce Iranian offense and ended the quarter with a slight lead, at JAP 44-40 IRI.

The fourth quarter was a contender for the most exciting one of the tournament. Neither side was willing to give an inch, but Iran’s secret weapon – Bahrami, found his rhythm and landed 3 after 3, to give his side a 10 point lead. Iran’s defense was special, and Japan’s tireless charges were blunted. At the final buzzer, Iran were 5 ahead at 68-63 Japan. 

Iran take bronze and will go through to next year’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament. With their fourth place finish, Japan will hope to avenge this loss in the tournament. 


Published 03 Oct 2015
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