Palestine secures top seed in Group B with close win against Hong Kong

FIBA (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

CHANGSHA--Palestine's inspiring run in the FIBA Asia Championship continued on Friday night with an 85-79 victory over Hong Kong.

The first-time participants opened a double-digit spread against the Hong Kong nationals in the first half, extending it to 16, 52-36, at halftime.

Palestine continued its onslaught in the third, further swelling the gap to 23, 68-45, with less than three minutes remaining in the period.

Hong Kong finally began converting its shots in the fourth quarter, but it proved to be a little too late for the team.

Imad Qahwash led the Palestinians, who completed a 3-0 sweep of the first round in Group B, with 24 points, six rebounds, and two assists, while Jamal Abu Shamala added 22 points, seven rebounds, one assist, three steals, and two blocks.

Lee Ki tallied 26 points to top score for Hong Kong, which finished third in the group with a 1-2 record.

The result put Gilas Pilipinas in second place with a 2-1 record entering the second round, where all the three teams will take on Group A qualifiers Iran, Japan, and India.