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TOKUSHIMA (FIBA Asia Championship) - "So what if we had qualified? We wanted to maintain our momentum," exclaimed Lebanon coach Dragan Raca after his team beat Iran 82-60 and topped Group E of the Quarterfinal round on Thursday. Both teams had booked their place in the semifinals on Wednesday.
"We prepared seriously for this game, because any lapse can prove costly as some results in this Championship have shown," said the coach of Serbian origin.
"I think our defense clicked in the first half, and that was crucial. The second half was more equal, but the initial advantage worked for us," he said.
"We have had a lot of tough games so far. So we thought we'd give some players a break,"said Iran coach Toroman Rajkov, also of Serbian origin.
"It's important we are in semis. We have reserved our best for then," he said.
Rajkov also used the towering Jaber Rouzbahani, albeit for a very brief time, but refused to read too much. "He is the future of Iranian basketball. And we have brought him only to help get a feel of the Championship," he said.
Lebanon 82 (Fadi El-Khatib 22, Joseph Vogel 19) bt Iran 60 (Aidin Nekkhah 16). Quarterwise: 24-14, 45-25, 60-46.