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IRAN, CHINESE-TAIPEI, QATAR REMAIN UNSCATHED

Three first round Group topnotchers kept their immaculate slates on Day 1 of the second round of preliminaries in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship Monday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

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Chinese-Taipei walloped Hong Kong, 94-55, while Qatar downed Jordan, 75-61, as the two squads kept their unbeaten run to share the lead in Group E.

Gilas Pilipinas kept within striking distance as it scored a masterful 90-71 victory over Japan to stay a game behind the joint leaders. Japan slid to 1-2. Bringing up the rear are Jordan and Hong Kong with identical 0-3 slates.

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In Group F action, Iran clobbered India, 102-58, with five players scoring 12 points or more. The two-time Asian champs remain the only undefeated team in the group as Kazakhstan faltered in the endgame and bowed to China, 67-73.

It was a gallant stand for the Kazakhs, who came back strong in the third quarter after trailing by 12 at the half. But the Chinese had a bigger kick at the finish to chalk up its first win in the second round. They now sport a 1-2 card, still two games behind Iran.

Kazakhstan, at 2-1, shares second spot in Group F with Korea, which whipped Bahrain in the nightcap. Bahrain dropped to 1-2 while India is at the bottom of the six-team group at 0-3.

In consolation play at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium, Thailand rolled past Malaysia, 71-56, to earn a crack at 13th place against Saudi Arabia. Malaysia finished at the tailend of the 15-team pack. (JL)

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