Qatar continued its rampage yesterday as it added Jordan to its growing list of victims with an easy 75-61 win, perhaps sending a shiver of concern for the Philippines which it will meet today in the FIBA Asia Championship yesterday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Former NBA veteran Jarvis Hayes - the team's naturalized player - led Qatar's assault with 15 points as the reigning Persian Gulf Basketball Championship improved its record to 3-0 and took another step closer to clinching a quarterfinals berth.
Qatar can earn that slot with a victory over the Philippines today in the continuation of the second round.
Hayes, a 6-foot-7 forward who was the No. 10 overall pick in the NBA Rookie Draft in 2003 that included top pick LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony (No. 3), Chris Bosh (No. 4) and Dywane Wade (No. 5), shot 6-of-14 from the field, including 2-of-4 from three-point range.
He also collected four rebounds and three assists in almost 34 minutes of action.
"We're trying to manage the minutes of our players because they're not that young anymore," said Qatar's American mentor Tom Wisman. "We lost (forward Targuy) Ngombo because FIBA didn't allow him to play."
"We're implementing a system that fits the kind of team that we have," added Wisman, whose team went 2-0 in the preliminary round of Group B with wins against Japan and Hong Kong.
Aside from Hayes, Qatar also got solid contributions from veteran Yasseen Musa who added 14 points while Daoud Musa Daoud came off the bench to contribute 13 points and five assists.
Erfan Ali Saeed and Mansour Atif Elhadary also had double figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Qatar is hoping to make it to the knockout round after a disappointing campaign two years ago in Wuhan, China where all its games were forfeited after FIBA found out that six of its players were ineligible to play.
Wisman is hoping the win will give them momentum as they face Gilas Pilipinas today at 8:30 p.m.
The two teams last met in the FIBA Asia qualifier for this tournament in Tokyo last year with Qatar the winner in the bronze medal game.
"They're going against Japan today (Monday) so we'll see. We're going to watch that game, we know they're quick and their quickness will give us some problems. We got to prepare for that," said Wisman, who coached Japan in the previous FIBA Asia.
By placing third, Qatar earned an outright slot for this tournament together with FIBA Asia Cup champion Iran and second placer Japan.
The Philippines only earned automatic slot in this event when FIBA-Asia awarded the hosting rights to the country.