The Tokyo Basketball Tournament kicked off this morning (Sunday) with four games. The opening match brought together Nano Ginzburg’s Czech Republic and Iran, and ended in a close victory for the European team. Later Italy and Germany and Australia and Nigeria will meet, and the highlight will be the fascinating game between the United States and France in the afternoon.
Iran – Czech Republic 84:78
Nano Ginzburg shook hands with Iranian players and coach Mahran Shahintab before the game, and then saw them stretch his Czech Republic until the final minutes of their first ever appearance at the Olympics. Tomasz Storanski, Jan Wesley led an escape in the second quarter and deep into the second half the Czech Republic still seemed to be on the way to a relaxed victory, but Iran’s last 17:32 quarter, led by veteran Hamed Haddadi, almost arranged a turnaround. In the end, nationalist Blake Shilab saved Ginzburg and the Czech Republic from embarrassment, and brought victory. Patrick Oda was the top scorer for the Czech Republic with 16, Shilab added 14 and 5 assists and the Czech Republic survived a weak game by Tomasz Storansky with just 6 points (and 2 of 14 from the field). Haddadi finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds for the loser.