DOHA: China outclassed Iran 66-48 in the final of the 23rd FIBA Asia U18 Championship at Al Gharafa Stadium yesterday, securing their 11th gold medal — third in a row — in the event.
Zhou Qi, the most accomplished player in the entire competition, made his appearance on the court only at the beginning of the second quarter. But by then China had ascertained their dominance on the proceedings, racing ahead to a double-digit lead.
Much credit for that lead went to Zou Yuchen — who accounted for 14 of China’s 22 points in the first quarter, including scoring half of the points in China’s searing 16-0 run that helped the East Asian giants break away from the early equal sparring.
Mohammad Yousof Vand ended Iran’s barren run with a slam dunk but it didn’t spark even an iota of a fight back from Iran.
Zou Yuchen went on to finish with 15 points, handing over the mantle to Zhou Qi, who used his time on the court to finish with a game-high 16 points.
“We came in with a certain plan to win the gold. And I think we executed most of our plans well,” said Chinese coach Fan Bin who won his second FIBA Asia U18 Championship gold in three editions.
“It’s very important for the boys to finish with the gold. That provides a lot of boost to their morale in the days to come,” he said.
“This team is a work in progress. We do expect them to serve Chinese basketball in the future. But they still have a lot to learn,” Bin added.
Navid Rezaeifar’s 13 points was the only ray of hope for Iran.