Mirror, mirror, on the wall
Who’s the gamest of them all?
My magic mirror, Moira, made a face; then belted out her piece:
Not him, not me; that’s fantasy
But is there a guy named Haddadi?
(Aha! Methinks my Moira got bitten by the statistics bug!)
Fifteen of the best teams in the region set forth in search for fame and glory. Two rounds of mortal cage combat later, seven have been taken out, mortally wounded. Only eight have survived to move on to the round of death.
The dreaded FIBA Asia 2013 quarterfinals. Where a loss will mean goodbye. Where a single error could lead to eternal damnation. Where no quarters must be given, no quarters asked. Where it’s either you live…. or die trying.
Four gladiators will come out victorious. Perhaps even barely alive. FIBA Asia 2013 will banish the four others into ignominy. Pray tell, my dear Moira, what do the stars foresee?
Iran vs Jordan: Iran has been looking forward to this day. Sweet revenge indeed. Having been eliminated unceremoniously by Jordan two years ago, Haddadi and cohorts will want to see their Arab rival not just bruised, but battered and bewildered. Jordan doesn’t have the same serious line-up that they had 2 years ago. That said, it’s off to the mall for the Jordanians. Moi sez Iran by 12.
China vs Chinese – Taipei: Chinese Taipei doesn’t hold a chinaman’s chance to stop the Mainland Chinese juggernaut. Not after loosing half of their twin sniper crew in Lin Chih-Cheih. And most especially, not after NBA veteran Yi Jianlian checks in after having been under the weather during the early stages of the tourney. Lin is easily worth 20 points for this over-achieving Taiwanese crew. And his absence will certainly hurt their cause. Moi sez China by 15.
Philippines vs Kazakstan: Gilas is favored to win this one, with the homecourt advantage, and having beaten the Kazaks in their tune-up game. But this will really all depend on which Gilas Team shows up. Will it be Dr Jekyll with the high-energy, smooth-as-silk offense, the tough-as-nails defense? Or will it be Mr Hyde; the tentative, the unfocused, the easy-going? It will all start with defensive intensity. Japeth Aguilar will have to reinforce Marcus Douthit in the battle for the interior here. The Kazaks are expected to try to pound our players to smithereens under the basket where they have full advantage. If Gilas is able to negate that, the speedy transition will blow the Kazaks away. Moi unbiasedly said Philippines by 6.
Korea vs Qatar: Now this will be an interesting match-up. It will be the Koreans’ finesse against the Qataris’ brute force. Whosoever is able to enforce his will shall advance to the next round. Moi foresees that Korea’s consistency will be able to deny the Qatari charge, holding their own in the brawn department, while dishing out a high-percentage shooting lesson. They will advance to the round of four. Korea by 7.
What a difference this day will make! From fifteen, we’ll be down to four. Will the Philippines be a part of the Final Four? I say, a resounding YES!!! And I’m willing to bet my son’s monthly allowance on this!!! :0
(Cartoons, photos courtesy of cartoonstock.com, InterAKTV, oananews.org, demotix.com, pressTV.ir, smartgilasbasketball.com)