Center Hamed Haddadi saved his best performance of the 2013 FIBA Asia tournament for the gold medal game. The former Phoenix Suns and Memphis Grizzlies big man scored 29 points and grabbed 16 rebounds while leading Iran past the Philippines on Sunday for an 85-71 win and the championship.
By far the feel-good story of the FIBA Asia event and playing in front of their home crowd in Manila, the Philippines had no match for Haddadi inside with 6'11 center Marcus Douthit sitting out. Douthit, an American and naturalized Filipino, had averaged 11.9 points and 9.4 rebounds, but suffered a leg injury in the semifinals.
Haddadi, who through nine FIBA Asia games averaged 18.8 points and 10.0 rebounds, went 12-of-15 from the floor Sunday, and Samad Nikkhah Bahrami added 19 points and seven assists for Iran. Despite 19 turnovers, Iran shot nearly 50 percent from the floor and its size inside forced the Philippines to crank up 34 three-pointers, twice as many attempts from deep as Iran took.
The Iranians outrebounded the Philippines 51-34 and with Haddadi in the middle -- he also had two blocks -- and held their opponents to 32 percent shooting for the game.
Guard Jayson William led the Philippines with 18 points and Jim Alapag added 13.
By making the gold medal game, both the Philippines and Iran qualified for the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain. South Korea defeated Chinese Taipei earlier Sunday in the bronze medal game and likewise earned a trip to the World Cup next summer.