BEIRUT (Lebanon) – Welcome back to the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers! Boy, are we glad you are back because we have some exciting action waiting for you in the second window next month.

However, we know it’s been a while and it’s a whole new calendar year, so let’s take a quick look at how we got here to refresh your memory.

Previously on… Battles of the Beasts in the East

Two games were played in Group B during the first window of the Qualifiers in Sendai between two of the top teams, Japan and China.

The visiting China squad brought along plenty of their star veterans whether it was Zhou Qi, Guo Ailun, Zhou Peng, and Wang Zhelin. However, it was instead rising star Zhao Rui who stole the spotlight, specifically with a standout second game of 27 points on 6 three-pointers, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 steals.

This allowed China to cruise along to two wins by an average margin of 24.5 points per game.

There was obviously less pressure on Japan as they have already qualified for the World Cup as co-hosts, which allowed them to feature some new faces that could become the future of the program. Names like Yudai Nishida and Ryo Terashima are not widely known to general Asia basketball fans, but that might change soon if they keep up their Window 1 forms.

Previously on… Not in My House

Home court advantage proved to be true for the teams in Group C. Lebanon took care of Indonesia in both games, while Jordan and Saudi Arabia traded wins on their home turfs.

In Beirut, Lebanon had quite an easy job of fending off Indonesia and were energized by the play of prized youngster, Yousef Khayat. The 18-year-old played only a total of 24 minutes, but dazzled with his athleticism which resulted in some highlight plays in his debut.

It was also just as exciting for Jordan and Saudi Arabia fans as both games went down the wire and ended up being decided by single-digit points. Jordan held on to a 7-point lead in the opening game in Amman, while Saudi Arabia returned the favor with an 8-point victory with the venue in Jeddah.

That 1-point advantage in the favor of Saudi Arabia might come in handy later down the road in case these two teams end up in a tie.

Previously on… Spoiled Homecoming

They was much hoopla surrounding the home game for Syria in the previous window… and deservedly so. It had been a long, long while since the fans had been able to enjoy their heroes in action right in their backyard.

Therefore, it was a bit of a shame that Syria were unable to finish the job against a resilient and tough Kazakhstan squad in their second game of the window. The loss definitely hurt as it was their second straight defeat in the campaign, but the fans (loudly) cheered on until the last seconds as a display of the faith they have in the team.

On the other end, Iran had no trouble beating Bahrain in both games with an average margin of 26.0 points per contest. The three-time FIBA Asia Cup champions were a well-oiled machine with Arsalan Kazemi’s triple-double and Qualifiers all-time record of 26 rebounds in the first game standing out as a top performance.


Via Fiba