CHANGSHA, China – Defending champion Iran and host China played true to form as they posted their second straight wins in their respective groups in the Fiba Asia Championship here.
The Iranians were merciless in their 88-66 crushing of India on Thursday for a 2-0 record in Group A.
The Chinese, winningest team in the history of the biennal meet with 15 titles in all, also hold the same slate in Group C after coming back from 20 points down to eke out a close 76-73 win over rival Korea before a capacity crowd at the Changsha Social Work Colleges gymnasium.
The two are expected to finish their respective campaigns in the first round of the preliminary unbeaten to emerge the top team in their group as they battle lightweight opponents on Friday. The Iranians go up against winless Malaysia, while the Chinese battle Singapore, which also has yet to register a win after two games.
Iran leads Group E heading into the next round, while China shares the spotlight with surprising Qatar in Group F.
The Qataris (2-0) are on top of Group D after outlasting Lebanon in double overtime, 105-100. The Lebanese are now tied with Kazakhstan with similar 1-1 slates, putting Chinese Taipei in danger of being eliminated as it remained winless in two games after losing consecutively to Lebanon (92-87) and Kazakhstan (84-73).
Palestine won for the second straight time after defeating Kuwait, 90-69, to remain on top of Group B ahead of the Philippines and Hong Kong, both with even 1-1 record.