Iran defeated South Korea, 87 to 81, to advance to the finals of the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup. They will play against Australia which crushed New Zealand during their own semifinals match earlier in the day, 106 to 79. The championship game is set for early Monday morning (Manila time).
Iran raced to a 17-point lead after the opening quarter, but the South Koreans managed to trim the deficit to six as the first half ended, 39 to 33.
South Korea then outscored Iran by 10 in the third quarter to lead by four, 61 to 57, going to the final period. The two teams then engaged in a see-saw battle up until the last five minutes of the game, when timely baskets from veteran Hamed Haddadi and Mohammad Jamshidi pushed Iran ahead. A succession of costly turnovers doomed the South Koreans further.
Iran has previously won the FIBA Asia Cup championship in 2007, 2009, as well as in 2013, when it defeated Gilas Pilipinas in front of a hometown crowd. For its part, South Korea will play against New Zealand in the battle for third place.