China beats Philippines 78-67 to win FIBA Asia title

CHANGSHA, China (AP) Yi Jianlian combined with youngsters Guo Ailun and Zhou Qi to lead China to a 78-67 win over the Philippines in the FIBA Asia basketball final on Saturday, helping the host nation secure an Olympic slot and finish the continental tournament unbeaten.

Guo led the scoring with 19 points, 19-year-old center Zhou had 16 points and 14 rebounds and former NBA player Yi had 15 rebounds, two blocks and 11 points in a performance that confirmed his Most Valuable Player award for the tournament.

The 27-year-old Yi averaged 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game and was first picked in the All-Star Five which also included his teammates Guo and Zhou, Jayson Castro of Philippines and Iran’s Samad Nikkhah Bahrami.

Philippines led 15-10 after four minutes but China went on a roll, scoring 12 unanswered points and didn’t surrender the lead.

Andray Blatche led the Philippines with 17 points.

In the earlier bronze medal game, captain Bahrami scored 35 points to lead Iran to a 68-63 win over Japan.

Japan was led by guard Keijuro Matsui with 18 points.

In other qualifying games, Libya edged South Korea 88-87 for fifth place and Qatar defeated India 84-58 for seventh.