Iran and the Philippines have qualified for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain thanks to their semifinal victories on Saturday at the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship. The team from the Philippines, the host of the tournament, will square off against Iran in the tournament final on Sunday. Chinese Taipei and Korea will play in the third place game to determine the third team automatically qualifying for next year's Olympic-qualifying tournament.
Let's take a closer look at the two semifinal contests:
Iran 79, Chinese Taipei 60
Iran continued its domination of the tournament, rolling over Chinese Taipei by 19 points after a sluggish start. Mehdi Kamrani had 19 points, six rebounds and six assists while Hamed Haddadi had 17 points and 14 rebounds.
Iran fell behind by nine after the first quarter, but the tide turned in the second quarter. Iran surged ahead by six at halftime before putting the game away in the third quarter. Iran outscored Chinese Taipei 19-4 in the third and cruised to victory.
Iran, led by Haddadi, dominated down low, winning the rebounding battle (48-26) and outscoring Chinese Taipei (58-20) in points in the paint. Iran also forced 17 turnovers.
Quincy Davis led Chinese Taipei with 16 points. Chinese Taipei struggled mightily from three-point range, going just 4-of-24 from deep.
Philippines 86, Korea 79
The Philippines blew a nine-point fourth quarter lead, but overcame Korea in the final minutes to advance to the final. Jayson Castro had 17 points off the bench to lead the host squad while Marc Pingris added a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
The Philippines trailed by four after the first quarter, but closed the gap to three by halftime. They exploded for 29 points in the third quarter, though, taking a nine-point lead into the final frame. Korea stormed back and held several leads late in the game, but a bucket by Ranidel de Ocampo with 2:27 left gave the Philippines the lead for good.
The Philippines dominated many of the statistical categories, shooting 50 percent overall, winning the rebounding battle by 11 and outscoring Korea by 16 in the paint. Korea also stayed competitive thanks to Kim Min-goo, who scored 27 points on 9-of-15 shooting overall and 5-of-11 from three.