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TOKUSHIMA (FIBA Asia Championship) - "It's a tribute to the dedication my team put into the match," beamed Kazakh coach Vitaliy Strebkov after dashing the hearts of the home crowd, handing out the Japanese a 93-85 win in Group F of the Quarterfinal round on Tuesday.
"We did nothing extraordinary. But there were very few mistakes in whatever we did," he said.
"I think the boys showed a lot of responsibility. There were no wayward attempts at all. That was the key to our success," the coach said.
Anton Ponomarev, Rustam Yargaliyew and Yevgeniy Issakov played well within themselves. But like their coach said, there was impressive display of impeccable and very simple basketball. The trio was as prolific as they usually are and more importantly produced brisk teamwork in defense.
"They caught us completely unawares," admitted Japan coach Kimikazu Suzuki.
"Whatever they did, it was done very well. And whatever we did, didn't work out all."
"I think we'll have to leave this behind and start looking ahead," Suzuki said.
Kazakhstan 93 (Anton Ponomarev 24, Rustam Yargaliyew 23, Yevgeniy Issakov 20) bt Japan 85 (Takuya Nawamura 21, Takehiko Orimo 16). Quarterwise: 26-15, 46-36, 62-51.