Window 1 Key Takeaways: Come at the kings and you best not miss

BEIRUT (Lebanon) – We’ve missed these extended weekends of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers where we got to sit back, relax, and watch some awesome basketball action.

Now that those gamedays are behind us, let’s take some time to reflect and think about what we’ve learned. Because Ball is Life and life is all about learning.

Here are six key takeaways from Window 1 of the FIBA Asia Cup 2025 Qualifiers!

1. Japan are them

Japan have been on a tear over this past half decade. From beat Australia at the World Cup 2019 Qualifiers that was a part of a monumental 8-game win streak to their recent run at World Cup 2023 that bagged them a spot in the upcoming Paris Olympics, Japan have been killing it.

That’s still going on here in the Qualifiers. Not only did Japan go through the window undefeated, but they did so by taking care of business and claiming a historic win against China. That the victory against China was a nitty-gritty one where both teams shot under 40 percent and Japan fell behind early on made it all the more impressive and was yet another confirmation of how tough of a team this is.

2. Start of something new for the Philippines

Philippines basketball will always be intriguing, but there just seems to be a little something extra this time around with Gilas. Maybe it’s the change of scenery with Tim Cone as the new head coach. Maybe it’s Justin Brownlee being back in the mix again.

Whatever it was, this Gilas squad felt “new” – in a good way. And they played like it.

As a result, the Philippines finished the window as arguably the best offensive squad with an average of exactly 100 points and 31.5 assists per game while shooting 51 percent from the field, 39 percent from the three-point line, and 82.8 percent from the free-throw line – all of which leads all teams in the Asia Cup Qualifiers.

The Philippines are always lurking around the top of the pack in Asia Cup basketball, but this time, it feels like they are a little bit ahead of everyone else at this point.

3. If you come for the king, you best not miss

Korea had Australia in the corner. They led by as much as 13 points and were still up ahead in the fourth quarter. And then, the Boomers showed once again why they are the two-time Asia Cup champions by going on an 11-0 run to hit the snooze button on the upset alert.

Sure, Korea were able to confirm once again, just as Japan, Iran, and New Zealand have done in the past, that Australia are not invincible. If you come in with a solid gameplan and properly prepared talents, you will have a shot at taking down the kings from down under. But what you’ll get is a shot at it. So when you do, you better not miss.

4. Steady Cedars 

The Tall Cedars took care of business in Window 1 with two straight victories in relatively convincing fashion. They are, after all, recent Asia Cup Finalists and it would be foolish to forget that with so much of their core still intact.

Lebanon easily put away Bahrain at home and, even though they did let Syria claw back late in the game, the fact that they were up by 25 points in Damascus to begin with is noteworthy.

Remember that for a span during the previous Asia Cup Qualifiers cycle and World Cup Qualifiers, Lebanon were one of the hottest teams in Asia. Could they be brewing another run right now?

5. Home (is not always so) sweet home

Throughout the window, the home team won 13 of the 24 games. Statistically, there was still a “home court advantage” but only so slightly.

In particular, the last day of games on February 26 saw the away team win 5 of the 6 games with only Lebanon being able to defend their turf against Bahrain…

6. But Home is where the heart is

… with that said, however, considering “home court advantage” based only on the final result is not completely fair.

There’s no doubt that the electric atmospheres in Tokyo, Tehran, and Bangkok, among the other home courts of this venue, helped fuel their respective national teams to important victories.

Even in home games where the home team lost, the fans in the stands gave their team an extra boost. Despite not getting to see their teams win at home this window, the fans in Damascus and New Dehli seem ready to come root for their teams in the next home game when that time comes.



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