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Jordan takes on South Korea in Asian Basketball Championship

By Aline Bannayan - Sep 22,2015 - Last updated at Sep 27,2015

File photo of Sam Daghlas in action (Photo courtesy of fiba.com)

AMMAN – Jordan’s national basketball squad plays South Korea on Wednesday in its opening match at the 28th Asian Basketball Championship which tips off in Changsha, China starting September 23 and qualifies the winner to represent Asia at the 2016 Summer Olympics basketball tournament.

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

Group A includes Iran, Japan, India and Malaysia, while Group B is made up of the Philippines, Hong Kong, Kuwait and Palestine.

In the preliminary round, the 16 teams will play in four groups with the top three teams from each advancing to the Round 2 where the qualifying teams from Groups A and B will form Group E, while those from Groups C and D will form Group F. Teams will play the teams from the group they had not faced before. The top four teams from each group will 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.

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

Lebanon took top spot from the zone, but it was the qualification of Palestine for the first time ever that was historic following their 70-62 win over Iraq. Host China and 2014 FIBA Asia Cup champion Iran automatically qualified to the FIBA Asia.

It will be the 9th time at the Asian Basketball Championship for 2002 and 2014 West Asia champ Jordan. The country’s best performance at FIBA Asia was in 2011, where for the first time in history, Jordan reached the final but lost the chance to qualify to the 2012 Olympic Games after losing the final 70-69 to China and settling for runner-up. Jordan then played at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) for Men but lost to Puerto Rico and Greece and was eliminated. The OQT gave Asia’s second and third teams a chance to qualify to the London Games basketball event. 

The national team just concluded a training camp in the Philippines and earlier played a four nation friendly in China where the squad lost the final match 76-65 to the Chinese Olympic team after earlier beating China 72-70, Palestine 95-55 and the UAE 101-72.

The participation of stars Zaid Abbas and Sam Daghlas, who were both playing abroad and were not part of the line-up in the past two years, made up for the mediocre training agenda as the squad only managed to play two friendlies against Palestine prior to departure. 

Due to financial constraints crippling the Jordan Basketball Federation (JBF), Jordan declined participation at the William Jones Tournament and the King Abdullah Cup was cancelled. Participation at the EXPO four nation friendly 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 part coverage of participation costs.

 

Although the men’s basketball team reached the World Championship in 2010 — and 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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