ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia (22nd FIBA Asia U18 Championship): D for Death. That’s what the Group D of the Prelim Round at the 22nd FIBA Asia U18 Championship starting in Ulaanbaatar on Friday already looks like.
In a combined analysis, the contenders in Group D have collectively won a total of 15 medals in the past FIBA Asia U18 Championships making the contest in the Group one of the most closely contested.
Twice former champions – 2004 and 2008 – and current WABA U18 champions Iran have the top seed, by virtue of their semifinal finish at the 21st FIBA Asia Championship at Sana’A (Yemen) two years ago, but there ends any advantage the 2002 FIBA Asia U18 Championship silver medalists can count on.
Kazakhstan, who invariably add their European style to any FIBA Asia competition, will be keen to show that the silver medal they won at the 2008 FIBA Asia U18 Championship at Tehran (Iran) was no flash in the pan.
And Philippines, probably one of the most active and dynamic basketball communities in FIBA Asia have a history to protect. Having won the gold six times, silver once and the bronze thrice, Philippines are raring to end a medal drought that has lasted two decades.
Saudi Arabia, having won the GCC competition are no easy opponents, bringing their own physicality of play.
If nothing else, the No 4 team in this group surely won’t be known till the final buzzer. And that team for sure will be one of the better teams to bow out early in the tournament due to the inevitable cruelties of the draw!
Group A Preview
Group B Preview
Group C Preview