Watch FIBA Asia Semifinals: China vs. Iran, Philippines vs. Japan

Jayson Castro dribbles in FIBA tournament 2015

The FIBA Asia Championships are now down to just four teams: China, Iran, Japan and the Philippines. Only two of these teams will make the title game to be played on Saturday and the winner of that match will walk away with a berth to the 2016 Olympic games.

Discuss the semifinals in our 2015 FIBA Asia Championship forum.

The penultimate day starts with four classification games that will determine the 5th-12th placements, after that is quite a monster of a semifinal match: Iran find themselves in the unenviable position of going up against an undefeated China team in the final four. Iran came up short against the Philippines allow Gilas to take the #1 seed in their grouping.

Just because China hasn’t lost a game and Iran has doesn’t mean that Team Dragon are the favorites in this match-up. The Chinese side will be the first to tell you that Iran is a formidable team no matter how many losses they have. Iran has won the last three FIBA matches between the two teams.

China is bolstered by their four towers , led by 7-0 forward Yi Jianlian who is the top scorer (18) and rebounder (8) for the Chinese side.

Iran counters their four seven-footers with the best center in the tournament: Hamed Haddadi. Averaging just 11 points and 7.3 rebounds, Haddadi’s stats aren’t nearly as strong as previous tournaments, but then again, Iran had played their superstar pivot sparingly in the first four games of the tournament.

In his last two games, Haddadi has recorded a double-double with +22 and +31 efficiency.

This is a true clash of the titans. The old basketball dynasty (China) vs. the new kings of Asia hoops (Iran). Follow along with the China vs. Iran match in our forum. The game is scheduled to begin at 19:30 local time (7:30 AM EST).

Andray Blatche rebounds against Japan in FIBA Asia 2015

Philippines vs. Japan

After dispensing of Qatar in the quarterfinals, Japan will have to slay a giant in #1 seeded Philippines, who got to this point by downing Lebanon 82-70. The two teams have already met earlier in the tournament, with the Philippines pulling out a 73-66 win. In that game, Japan took the first and fourth quarters and the Philippines used stronger second and third quarters to provide the margin.

Japan is anchored by their 6-9 power forward Joji Takeuchi who leads the team in both points (15.7) and rebounds (11.6)

Team Philippines is led by Jayson Castro’s 17.4 points per game. Just a tenth of percentage point off is NBA-er Andray Blatche, who is averaging 17.3 points and leading the team in rebounding (9.3), steals (1.7) and blocks (1.3).

Japan not only will have to contain Blatche, but also history — the Philippines has defeated Team Hayabusa in seven of the last eight official match-ups.

The Philippines-Japan game is set to start at 19:30 local time (9:30 EST).

The FIBA Asia Championships are coming to a close. Follow all the game action with fans from the Philippines, China, Lebanon, Iran and all corners of Asia in our dedicated FIBA Asia Championship forum.

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