DESPITE Jordan’s struggles throughout the first two rounds of the Fiba- Asia Championships, national coach Alexandris Evangelos said he remains “very, very satisfied” with his team’s performance after clinching the last spot in the quarterfinals.
The Jordanians closed out their second round preliminaries with a 65-56 win against a tired Japanese side to wind up with a 2-3 record, earning the right to face top-seeded Iran in the knockout stage starting on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“I’m not only satisfied, but I’m really, really satisfied with the level of play of my team,” said Evangelos.
The Greek coach said seeing his boys play hard and fight for every possession during the entire tournament is gratifying in a way considering that he’s been with the team for only two months.
“My team is young, a lot of players here are inexperienced in the international games, plus I only worked for the team for two months. Yet, with this team, we have gone this far,” noted the 62-year-old coach.Jordan finished a strong second in the 2011 edition behind China in Wuhan.
While the Jordanians now have the unenviable task of facing the Iranians led by former NBA player Hamed Haddadi and shooter Nikkhah Bahrami Samad, Evangelos said they will try to keep the game close, the way they did in their last meeting last July in the 2013 Williams Jones Cup in Taipei.
“We just have to know how to play better as a team. Remember, in the last Jones Cup, we were close with Iran for the first 39 minutes of the game but only lost it in the final minute,” said a confident Evangelos.
Jordan’s veterans led by top playmaker Sam Daghlas, Zaid Al-Khas, the Abbas brothers Zaid and Islam Abbaas and naturalized player Rashiem Wright didn’t return for this year’s Fiba-Asia edition, leaving the team with a pool of young players to build on for the future.