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Jordan counts down to Asian basketball tourney

By Aline Bannayan - Sep 14,2015 - Last updated at Sep 14,2015

AMMAN —– Jordan’s national basketball squad headed to the Philippines on Monday for a final training camp and friendlies as teams prepare for the tipoff of the 28th FIBA Asia Championship in China starting September 23.

Jordan ended a four nation friendly in China where the squad lost the final match 76-65 to the Chinese Olympic team. In the earlier round Jordan beat China 72-70, Palestine 95-55 and the UAE 101-72.

The squad is expected to be joined by stars Zaid Abbas and Sam Daghlas, who were both playing abroad and were not part of the line-up in the past two years.

During summer, the team had an inconsistent training agenda and only managed to play two friendlies against Palestine prior to its departure.

Due to financial constraints crippling the Jordan Basketball Federation (JBF), Jordan declined to participate at the William Jones Tournament and the King Abdullah Cup was cancelled.

Participation at the EXPO event was not deemed technically needed with no top tier teams competing, but the JBF went ahead after all other options were exhausted and after managing to secure partial coverage of participation costs.

The Kingdom clinched one of three qualifying slots to the event after they beat Iraq 86-71, lost to Lebanon 92-74 and beat Palestine 92-76 and took runner-up spot after they beat Syria 80-69 at the West Asian Basketball Association Championship earlier this summer.

Lebanon took top spot but it was the qualification of Palestine, for the first time ever, that was historic following its 70-62 win over Iraq. 

Host China and 2014 FIBA Asia Cup champion Iran automatically qualified to the event which qualifies the winner to represent Asia at the 2016 Summer Olympics basketball tournament.

In the preliminary round, the sixteen teams will play in four groups of four with the top three teams advancing to the second round where the qualifying teams from groups A and B shall form Group E, while those from Groups C and D shall form Group F. The teams shall play the teams from the group they had not faced before. The top four teams from each group would proceed to the final round. The champion will qualify to the 2016 Summer Olympics. The runner-up, third and fourth place will qualify to the Final Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

Jordan will play in Group C alongside China, South Korea and Singapore and the top three teams will move to Round 2 to join the top three from Group D which includes Taiwan, Lebanon, Kazakhstan, Qatar.

Group A includes Iran, Japan, India, Malaysia, and Group B has the Philippines, Hong Kong, Kuwait and Palestine.

 

Although the men’s basketball team reached the World Championship in 2010 — and it was the only Jordanian team to actually reach a world championship in a team sport alongside the Junior team in 1995 — official support for Jordan’s second most popular sport is seen as below par by most observers, leading to a decline in the game locally and less competitive advantage on the regional scene.

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