QATAR certainly knew its mathematics and where it stood going into the game against Chinese-Taipei on Wednesday.
Totally outclassed by Gilas Pilipinas the day before, the Qataris needed to win by at least 16 points to gain the top seeding in Group E - and a relatively easier assignment in the knockout quarterfinals of the Fiba-Asia Championships at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Qataris failed but got the next best thing. By beating Chinese Taipei, 71-68, they will most likely qualify as No. 3 in the group and draw Korea as a Final Eight opponent. Had they won by at least eight points, the Qataris would have been in line for the No. 2 spot and a showdown with China.
Qatar coach Thomas Wisman admitted he was well aware of the scenarios but insisted they went to the game with only one purpose which was to try to top the group, denying they shaved some points in the end to avoid a clash with China.
"We were aware of that,” said Wisman about the scenarios. “But we told the team that we just need to win. If we can’t get to win by 16, we can still get the win.”
Qatar led by 12 points, 66-54, with four minutes remaining in the game but the lead soon diminished and Taipei was eventually able to tie the game before Daoud Musa Daoud hit the game-clincher.
Wisman said there was no effort to try and allow Taipei to cut into the lead when they couldn’t reach the 16-point lead plateau. Had they won between eight to 15 points, the Qataris would have taken the second seeding in the event of a three-way tie with Taipei and Gilas.
Wisman also said that they weren’t focused on ‘choosing’ their opponent for the quarterfinals.
“If we play China, it’s okay. If we play Korea, it’s okay. You never know. Who is to say whose team is better to play? Do we want China? Do we want Korea? We don’t want to get involved in that. We just focused on winning,” said Wisman.
Wisman said that they just didn’t have enough to post a bigger margin in the end.
“We got to 12 but just didn’t have enough gas. We wanted to win but we weren’t concerned on who we play in the next round. But we wanted to top the group,” said Wisman.