Qatar take on Jordan as race to Rio 2016 hots up in China

 27 Sep 2015 - 0:11

Qatar take on Jordan as race to Rio 2016 hots up in China
Action from the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship match between Qatar and Chinese Taipei on Friday. The Second Round of the championship begins today.

CHANGSHA-HUNAN: Qatar will aim to carry forward their impressive run when they take on Jordan in the Second Round match of the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship here today. 
Trey Johnson has been the man of the moment for Qatar, but he will need his supporting cast to step up if they are to make it past round two in Group F.
In the first two games, Qatar playing through eight quarters and three overtime periods was on target to register wins against Kazakhstan and Lebanon, but lost to Chinese Taipei. 
But Qatar will the big test in the Second round when they take on  bigs of Korea, Jordan, and China.
The Middle East nation will need Erfan Ali Saeed and Mohamed Yousef will need the two players to bring their A-game into play.
Hosts China, defending champions Iran and newcomer Palestine, are the three sides which have advanced to the second round undefeated.
It remains to be seen if the trio can remain unscathed amid the challenges of the second round.
Six teams from the China championship will qualify for the Olympics and thus the race to the quarter-finals is on.
China slate is clean, but they very nearly blew it against a very tough Korean team. 
The Chinese’s endgame rally was a testament to their resolve, though, and they will need every bit of that to top Group F. Yi Jianlian and Zhou Qi have been this squad’s spearheads, but it’ll be their backcourt that will need to step up against the likes of Jay Youngblood, Trey Johnson, and Jerry Johnson.
The side other in Group F Korea could have swept Group C had it not been for some miscues late in the fourth period against China. Yang Dong-Geun has been awesome for them so far, and they will need him to continue playing his best if they are to finish in the top two of Group F. Yang was rested yesterday together with Park Chan-Hee and Cho Sung-Min, so they should be extra fresh and ready for the next three games.
Elsewhere, the Lebanese got sidetracked by Qatar on day two, and they will probably rest Ahmad Ibrahim for the next few days. 
Still, they have plenty of guys who can deliver, led by Jay Youngblood, who has been their undisputed leader so far. Wael Arakji, Jean Abdelnour, and Ali Haidar have also had their shining moments, and coach Veselin Matic will hope to have more of those as the competition goes on.
Coach Rajko Toroman’s Jordian boys gave China a good fight on day three before fading in the final frame, but it sure looks like they have another gear in them. 
Al Nashama haven’t looked as sharp as they should, but if guys like Zaid Abbas, Sam Daghlas, Alex Legion, and Wesam Al-Sous start hitting their makrs, watch out. They started slow in the 2011 edition as well, and we all know how that turned out, right?
Another team in Group F, the Kazakhs had a golden opportunity to trip Qatar on day one, but they faltered in the end. They also got blasted by Lebanon, and it seems Jerry Johnson is feeling the pangs of a muscle strain. These are ominous signs for a team that definitely has the tools to be a contender in this tournament.
In Group E, Iran and Palestine will seek to continue their unbeaten run in the Second Round. Iranian coach Dirk Bauermann’s wards have dominated nearly every possession they had in the first round. They blew out their opponents by an average of 47 points! And Hamed Haddadi hasn’t really even flexed his muscles that much to boot! Mohammad Hassanzadeh has been the revelation for this team, but expect the veterans to take over from this point on.
Meanwhile, the Palestinians have been the darlings of the tournament so far, but that may be over soon as coach Jerry Steele continues to overplay his big three of Sani Sakakini, Jamal Abu-Shamala, and Imad Qahwash. Coach Steele tends to play all three the entire 40 minutes in every big game, and, well, it’ll all be big games from here on. The jury is out on whether that strategy will be sustainable or not.
In the same group E, dark horses India will seek to upset the calculations and the race to Rio will boil down between Japan and India among the not so fancied teams from the group
Iran look solid enough to win all their games in this group, while the rest of the slots are up in the air. 
Much of the Filipinos’ chances are hinged on the underwhelming Andray Blatche, while it will be interesting to see how Palestine fare against much tougher competition.
The Peninsula