TOKYO, Japan (4th FIBA Asia Cup): There was enough of energetic, effervescent and efficient action of basketball that would have sent many a heart across FIBA Asia enervating as the Day One of the 4th FIBA Asia Cup unraveled itself at Ota City Gymnasium on Friday.
Lebanon began the defense of their title with a runaway 120-51 win (Game report) against Macau in Group A, in the opening game of the competition, but even in that there was an enormous interest to see one of their young stars coming back from a long injury lay-off.
And the day ended with a lot to cheer for the local fans with their favorite team – known popularly as Hayabusa – taking early flight high muck like the Peregrine Falcon it’s nicknamed after, and beat Qatar 73-69 (Game report).
In between those two games, came two contests which looked evenly keeled and equally matched and could have either way before the more experienced teams clinched the issue riding more on their opponents’ follies rather than anything spectacular on their own.
India held Iran by the scruffs of their neck, but then committed one too many fouls – personal as well as team – handing the latter the inch to take the mile away in an 83-71 win (Game report).
And Philippines showed too much energy in everything except converting their free-throws and went down 68-71 (Game report) to reigning FIBA Asia Championship winners China, who of course are here without any of the players who were a part of the team that won the gold medal at the 26th FIBA Asia Championship at Wuhan (China) last year.
What does that leave us to expect? Only a more exciting day with each of the four games of the day’s fare as critical as it can get.