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Iran tops Philippines 95-75 to win Tokyo Olympic berth

(Xinhua)    09:26, September 09, 2019
Iran tops Philippines 95-75 to win Tokyo Olympic berth
Players of Iran celebrate after the group N match between Iran and the Philippines at the 2019 FIBA World Cup in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 8, 2019. (Xinhua/Zhang Chenlin)

BEIJING, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- Iran gained qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by a crucial 95-75 victory over the Philippines in the classification round of the 2019 FIBA World Cup here on Sunday.

Iran topped China, who lost to Nigeria 86-73, to finish the World Cup as the best Asian side on points difference of all games.

"It is a great achievement for us to advance into the Olympics, it means a lot for basketball in Iran," Iran's head coach Mehran Shahintab said. "We have been playing well during the World Cup, just like we did tonight."

Iran had five players score in the double digits. Hamed Haddadi scored the game-high 19 points and 7 rebounds, Mohammadsamad Nik Khahbahrami finished with 17 points and Mohammad Jamshidijafarabadi had 16 points.

The Philippines have lost all of their five games in the World Cup, conceding 147 points in total.

"We did our best but Iran obviously is out of our league, specially in physical." said the Philippine head coach Guiao Joseller.

The Philippines went 6 for 11 on 3-pointers in the first quarter but Khahbahrami's layup at the buzzer gave Iran a 30-24 lead. Haddadi, who won the CBA championships with Sichuan in 2016, led Iran to extend the margin to 14 points at the halftime.

A flurry at the start of the second half, led by three-consecutive 3-pointers, put Iran up 21 points midway through the third. The margin was 75-50 at quarter's end and the Philippines never put together a serious run in the fourth.

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(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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