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Jordan hosts India in Asian basketball World Cup qualifiers

By Aline Bannayan - Aug 24,2022 - Last updated at Aug 24,2022

AMMAN — Jordan hosts India on Thursday as Round 2 Asian qualifiers for FIBA’s 2023 Basketball World Cup tips off with 12 teams fighting for six remaining slots from the continent.

Jordan just concluded a training camp in Bahrain where it beat Saudi Arabia 86-77 and lost to their hosts 92-83 without team leaders Dar Tucker and Ahmad Dweiri on the squad.

The national team returned home to face India before flying off to play New Zealand in Auckland on August 29.

After playing three windows in Round 1, twelve teams advanced to Round 2, to play the three upcoming windows running up till February 2023. Japan and the Philippines qualify as hosts while third host Indonesia did not make it to the FIBA Asia Cup quarters and failed to qualify. 

Jordan joins New Zealand, Lebanon, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia and India in Group E, while Group F includes Australia, Kazakhstan, China, Iran, Japan and Bahrain. Eight nations from Asia and Oceania will join the 32-country 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup field that will take place from August 25 to September 10, 2023.

Asia was last on the World Cup podium back in 1954 when the Philippines placed third.

Jordan previously reached the FIBA Basketball World Cup in 2010 and 2019, becoming the first and only Jordanian team to actually reach a World Cup in a team sport alongside the junior men’s team in 1995.

The tournament serves as a qualifier for the 2024 Summer Olympics, where the top two teams from each of the Americas and Europe, and the top team from each of Africa, Asia and Oceania, will qualify alongside the tournament’s host France.

National sides played home and away games across three windows in Round 1, where Jordan finished second after Lebanon in Group C. In the latest Window 3, Jordan lost 89-70 to Lebanon in an under par performance before they beat Indonesia 77-52. In Window 2, Jordan beat Lebanon 74-63 and Indonesia 94-64 and in Window 1, they beat Saudi Arabia 68-61 and lost 72-64.

Jordan is powered by naturalised pro Tucker, the towering Dweiri, who led Fenerbahce Club to the Turkish League crown last season. They combine with Freddy Ibrahim, who was in impressive form lately, while veteran Zeid Abbas led on court, but was a fraction of the dominant force he was.

After inconsistent results in World Cup qualifiers, last month’s performance at the FIBA Asia Cup, was impressive. The team, headed by coach Wisam Al Sous, a star of the 2010 World Cup qualifying squad, now has to combine that winning spirit together with utilizing the full force of the lineup which mainly relied on Tucker and Dweiri in their scoring and rebounding.

Jordan made it to the FIBA Asia Cup quarters after beating Chinese Taipei 97-96 on a dramatic buzzer-beater by Ibrahim’s half court three-pointer that will certainly go down in Jordan’s basketball memory, sealing its win even after they were nine points down with just under one minute left and four points down with nine seconds left. 

The Kingdom then stunned three-time champs Iran 91-76 in the quarterfinals beating them for their first win since 2011, to seal victory by keeping Iran scoreless for nearly seven minutes.

The win advanced Jordan to the semis for the first time since 2011, to face three-time silver medallist Lebanon who ousted record 16-time champs China, as Lebanon made the semis for the first time since 2009. 

In the semis, despite injuries and a technical foul that cost them a near win, Jordan handed the match to Lebanon 86-85, and settled for fourth place after losing to New Zealand as Australia beat Lebanon to win the title.

It was Jordan’s 16th time at the FIBA Asia Cup, previously called FIBA Asia Championship, with the Kingdom’s best performance at the event placing third in 2009 and runner-up in 2011.

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