Source: Tehran Times
The Iranian basketball team won the 2012 FIBA Asia Cup trophy with an electrifying performance against Japan on Saturday.
photo: FIBA Asia
The Persians defeated Japan 53-51 in Tokyo's Ota Gymnasium in front of thousands of home supporters and lifted up the FIBA Asia Cup for the first time. Iran had already defeated Japan 71-65 in the preliminary round.
Samad Nikkhah Bahrami of Iran was named as the most valuable player of the tournament.
"It was a difficult match. The Japanese team had analyzed our match and strengthened itself after they lost to us in the preliminary round. We played well but things changed in the second half," Iran coach Memi Becirovic said.
"Asghar Kardoust played well in the last minutes of the match and helped us to gain some important points. We are champion but I believe that much work remains ahead of us," the 51-year-old Slovenian coach added.
Iran advanced to the FIBA Asia Championship which will be held in Lebanon in 2013.
The FIBA Asia Cup was played since 2004, then 2008 and 2010. Qatar was champion in 2004 in Taipei; Jordan won the title in 2008 in Kuwait, while Lebanon won the crown in Beirut in 2010.
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