DEPOSED Asian champion China salvaged some measure of pride after beating Qatar, 96-85, to settle for fifth place in the final day of the 27th Fiba-Asia men’s basketball tournament Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Except for a lackadaisical first half, the Chinese pushed the ball at every given opportunity in the second half, while utilizing their size advantage against the shorter Qataris to finish the tournament on a winning note.
China, which kissed its title-retention bid goodbye after dropping a painful 78-96 quarterfinal loss to Chinese Taipei two days ago, also gave a nice send-off for long-time national player Wang Zhizhi.
The 36-year-old Wang said prior to the start of the tournament that this year’s Fiba-Asia cage joust would be his last stint with the China national team after more than a decade of service to the 15-time Asian basketball champions.
The loss dropped Qatar to sixth spot.
Meanwhile, Jordan, the 2011 Fiba-Asia men’s basketball runner up, captured seventh spot after demolishing Kazakhstan, 88-59.
Guard Mahmoud Abdeen scattered 20 points while Hani Alfaraj added 15 for the rejigged Jordan national team, which came into this year’s tournament without its three key international players.
Kazakhstan closed the tournament with six straight losses to finish with a disappointing eighth place.