IRAN wasted no time in underlining its stature as one of the top favorites in the 2013 Fiba-Asia Men's Basketball Championships, dealing Malaysia a merciless 115-25 defeat in the opening game on Thursday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The two-time Asian champions and 2008 Olympians opened a 42-3 lead at the end of the first period and turned the rest of the match into an awe-inspiring display of the vastly improved skills and arsenal that made them the team to beat in the biennial tournament.
So one-sided was the match that the Malaysians, the last-minute qualifiers from Southeast Asia, were nearly blanked in the third period - the team spared the embarassment when it scored with 30 seconds left in the quarter.
Hamed Hadadi had 21 points and eight rebounds in only 13 minutes of play for the Iranians, who didn’t need much of his presence as they opened play in Pool C, the so-called ‘Group of Death’ which also had China and Korea.
“The result is not important, very important is we look to play decent enough,” said Iran coach Mehmed Becirovic. “I’m happy because they shared the ball very good and didn’t play for statistics for our future games where we have much stronger opponents.”
Asghar Kardoust finished with 15 points, Mohammed Jamshidijafarabadi and Mahdi Kamrany had 12 points each.
Hong Hoong Gan was the lone double-digit scorer for Malaysia with 11 markers.
Wen Keong Tong was the only scorer in the first period with a three-pointer while Lok Seng Mak scored in the paint for Malaysia’s only basket in the third.