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TOKUSHIMA (FIBA Asia Championship) - Iran became the first survivor from the 'Group of Death', with a Phoenician rise to beat Jordan 60-54 on Sunday. The win put Iran as the first team to enter the quarterfinal round from Group 'A', leaving Monday's encounter between Jordan and Philippines a virtual knock-out for the other berth.
Like it was in a majority of other matches of the day, Iran transformed 5-point deficit at the end of third quarter to a six point victory margin at the end of the match. Saturday hero Mahdi Kamrany's free-throw conversion following a blistering three-pointer with 03:30 left in the third quarter put Iran ahead for the first time in the match.
Along with giving Iran a 37-36 lead, those efforts also injected a sense of poise and confidence in the whole Iranian approach. There was a sudden spurt of energy and intensity in the way Iran played.
Where Iran grew in confidence, Jordan went on the decline.
"I'm really glad we are through (to the next round)," Iran coach Toroman Rijko heaved a sigh of relief. "Advancing from this group makes me feel really confident for the next stages of the Championship," the Serbian added.
"I think the pressure of playing in the toughest group got to my players in the early stages of the match. But they showed a lot of character to stage this comeback. Now I think we can beat any team in the competition."
Jordan coach Mario Palma attributed the defeat to "total lack of control in the second half."
"We made so many mistakes in the second half. My players just stopped playing the way we wanted."
Iran 60 (Hamed Ehadadi 18, Mohammad Nikkah 16, Aidin Nekkah 10) bt Jordan 54 (Enver Soobzokov 14). Quarterwise: 11-21, 21-33, 46-41