Quarterfinal line-up for Thursday
Top half (winners meet in semifinals)
Qatar (Maroon) Vs. Qatar (Grey)
Iran Vs. Ch. Taipei
Bottom half (winners meet in semifinal)
Philippines Vs. Jordan
India vs. Saudi Arabia
DOHA, Qatar (1st FIBA Asia 3x3 Championships): Is Usain Bolt running many kilometers at a stretch at the same lightning speed that he runs the 100m dash a possibility? That was the gut reaction of a majority of those who watched the intense pace of the opening day’s proceedings at the 1st FIBA Asia Championship for Men and Women were left wondering.
Such was the intensity of the speed and swiftness with which things moved with 44 games being completed in a span of less than four hours at the well-endowed, well-equipped and well-managed Villaggio at the Qatari capital.
Click here for Day One round up of women’s competition
That only two teams – among the two outfits hosts Qatar fielded – with a line-up that was obviously the most experienced of the entire lot should escape the grind of the competition without losing a game spoke for the breathlessness with which teams came in, played, went out and came back to play again.
Qatar Maroon, playing with a rehauled combination forced by the injury to Trey Johnson, emerged as the lone team to finish the day with an unblemished record in Group A of the Prelim Round in men’s competition winning their games with nonchalant ease, but things were not as smooth for none of the others.
Fielding one of the most experienced players in FIBA Asia circuit – Yasseen Ismail -- and one of the craftier professional players – Boney Watson – Qatar Maroon wrapped up two of their games crossing the 21-point mark and only the assurance of everything being granted for did they slow down the pace against Sri Lanka.
Their opponents for Thursday’s quarterfinals Qatar Grey looked a much paler shadow of their countrymen and only a inspired performance by their seasoned campaigner Saad Abdulrahman took them to safety in the needle encounter against Japan, and eventually to the quarterfinals.
In the top half of the draw are another FIBA Asia giants, who too began the competition on a stutter before recovering enough. WABA powerhouse Iran began with a stunning defeat at the hands of lowly Indonesia, but gathered momentum in the next two games to beat India and Turkmenistan.
Against Iran are Chinese Taipei who suffered a sudden dip in the group-toppers deciding clash against Saudi Arabia which led to a defeat in Overtime. Otherwise there was very little to choose between the two teams.
India made the grade braving through against a tough, but profligate Turkmen outfit.