AMMAN (Jordan) – The stage in the Jordan bubble was set for an entertaining finish down to the last games in each group. Fortunately for the Asia Cup fans, that was how the games panned out throughout the days in Amman.
Here are 5 takeaways from the Jordan bubble!
E is Entertaining
The teams in Group E had traded wins back and forth throughout most of the Qualifiers, which set the expectation that the remaining games in the bubble would be intense and tightly contested.
Three of the four Group E games played in the Jordan bubble ended up with an average of 6.3 point difference. The closest margin was a two-point for Saudi Arabia over Syria in overtime, which has their second overtime clash in the Qualifiers.
The takeaway here is that these teams are good and it’s going to be fun to see them go up against each other once again should their paths cross in the Asia Cup.
Jordan are a very good team and that’s why they went undefeated through the Jordan bubble and the Asia Cup Qualifiers. They have showcased the talents of their players whether it is Freddy Ibrahim, Amin Abu Hawwas, or Sami Bzai and each have shown what they can bring to the table for the national team.
In this Jordan bubble, however, it was the domination of Ahmad Al Dwari that took the spotlight. Over two games played, Al Dwairi averaged 23.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game while shooting a blistering 78.9 percent from the field.
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Jordan are far from a one-man team, but this one man in Ahmad Al Dwairi has proven to be quite a presence in the paint. He’ll certainly be a player to look out for at the Asia Cup.
Spirit of Syria
Syria’s journey through the Asia Cup Qualifiers has been a wild ride. Overcoming a blowout loss to an overtime win. Rebounding from a disappointing defeat to a historic upset.
Here in the Jordan bubble, they were at it once again after suffering a heartbreaking overtime loss to Saudi Arabia before coming back to win a tough game against Qatar to clinch an Asia Cup ticket.
It might be far from a perfect run from Syria, but they proved time and again that even if they encounter an early setback, they are ready to bounce back even stronger.
So make sure to not count them out if they start out slow in Asia Cup 2021, because they’ve proven themselves capable of getting back on their feet in a hurry.
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This probably wasn’t expected, but Asia Cup fans might have witnessed the start of an ongoing rivalry between Syria and Saudi Arabia.
The two teams played through an overtime game in the first window in which Syria won on a clutch shot by Rami Merjaneh. That jumpstarted the excitement for the rematch in the Jordan bubble and the two teams did not disappoint.
The rematch went into overtime yet again, through this time it was Saudi Arabia who would come away with the win.
The plot thickened as they both held identical records following the results on the final gameday, allowing Syria to come away with the direct Asia Cup ticket with their head-to-head tiebreaker advantage.
Saudi Arabia might now have to work a little harder by going through the Qualifying Tournament for third ranked teams to be able to set up a potential third installment of the rivalry and we’re sure that Asia Cup fans will be rooting to see that happen.
So You’re Telling Me There’s a Chance
Saudi Arabia played well and even pushed top team in Group E to the edge in both of their games against each other, but weren’t able to secured a direct ticket to the Asia Cup. Not all hope is lost however, as they still have a shot to make it to Jakarta from the Qualifying Tournament for the third ranked teams.
That is also the case for Guam, who took care of business in the bubble after beating Hong Kong twice, and Palestine, who put up a good fight against Jordan.
It won’t be easy for either of these teams as there will only be three spots up for grabs from the tournament which also includes Chinese Taipei and India. At the very least, however, they can move on knowing that their hopes of qualifying for Asia Cup 2021 are still very much alive.