Game Photos. Game Details and Stats
TOKYO, Japan (4th FIBA Asia Cup): There’s something magical every time Fadi El Khatib takes to the basketball court. The Ota City Gymnasium became the latest in the long list of venues of FIBA Asia competitions to be mesmerized by this talismanic Lebanese legend. Of course, the opponents of the Sunday’s Group A Prelim Round game China too were a part of this captivated lot to the Cedar flag-bearer’s sublime effort going down 69-89.
The massive win virtually wiped out the memories of the defeat Lebanon had suffered against Philippines on Saturday and put the WABA champions in an advantageous position for the top position in Group A should a three-way tie arise. China had beaten Philippines on the opening day.
The two teams fought on even keel for the first 15 minutes or so, till Fadi took charge of the Lebanese campaign at around the midway mark of the second quarter.
Fadi had stats of 8 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals in the second quarter, and when he wasn’t doing any of this, his shadow boxing paved the way for his teammates to take care of the offense.
Topping the performance his saint-like nonchalance at the end of the game in his reaction.
“Hey I didn’t do anything special man. I was just doing what I am supposed to do for the team,” Fadi quipped a journalist.
Karl Sarkis fired back-to-back from downtown, Elie Stephan followed suit and Fadi capped a steal with a trey of his own following it up with a characteristic drive in the lane and suddenly Lebanon had turned the hunter instead of being the hunted.
Jean Abd El Nour laid up twice interspersed by a Fadi sizzler from outside the arc and Lebanon took a 10-point lead going into the changing room never to look back.
“What can I say. His performance speaks for itself,” gushed Lebanon coach Ghassan Sarkis.
“Well the difference between last night and this game was, today we were a team. I don’t want to get into things like if we were better than them (Philippines) or not, but if we were better it certainly didn’t show on the court.
“I think we have picked our lessons from there,” he said.
Lebanon have a game against Uzbekistan on Tuesday after Monday’s rest day, while China play back to back against Uzbekistan on Monday and Macau the following day.
S Mageshwaran / FIBA Asia