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SECOND ROUND CAST COMPLETE

Three teams have fallen by the wayside, leaving 12 others to slug it out for all the marbles in the 27th FIBA Asia Championship.

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Chinese Taipei broke the hearts of the hometown crowd, turning back Gilas Pilipinas 84-79 at the Mall of Asia Arena Saturday. The win enabled Chinese-Taipei to sweep Group A and move into the second round carrying a 3-0 card.

The Filipinos finished at No. 2 while Jordan caught the last bus to the next phase after a 63-47 drubbing of Saudi Arabia in the nightcap.

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Qatar ripped Hong Kong, 87-64, to rule Group B. But due to Lebanon’s suspension and the absence of a replacement, Hong Kong likewise advanced to the second round along with idle Japan.

In a highly-anticipated battle of powerhouse teams, Iran rolled past China, 70-51. The defending champions played without hurting star player Yi Jianlian.

The Chinese coaching staff decided to rest Yi to get him ready for the knockout stages of the tournament.

With the win, Iran topped Group C with an immaculate slate. Korea, which beat Malaysia, 80-58, finished second in the Group. China still made it, but it is in a rather unfamiliar position, moving into the second round only as the No. 3 team from Group C.

Kazakhstan as expected wound up Group D topnotcher with an 80-67 spanking of India. Bahrain repulsed Thailand, 86-62, to finish second. India settled for third. (JL)

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