BEIRUT, LEBANON – The fifth week of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers has arrived! The stakes are high in the Qualifiers, as usual, with World Cup tickets still available, which means teams are still paradeing their big stars onto the court.
When we say “big” stars, we also mean it literally. There are some massive players ready to show off their skills once more in this Asian Qualifiers window. Because of their size and abilities, they will be difficult to overlook.
Here are the players to keep an eye on during this Asian Qualifiers window!
Kai Sotto (Philippines)
After averaging 13.5 points and 10.0 rebounds per game in July, the 2.16M (7’1″) youngster is back for a second consecutive World Cup Qualifiers window. Sotto was a joy to watch as he made multiple highlight plays with his teammates, most notably Jordan Clarkson.
Sotto could be expected to play a larger role for Gilas in their away games against Jordan and Saudi Arabia, which will be exciting to watch. We’ve been watching Sotto almost nonstop since 2017, and it’s easy to forget that he’s still only 20 years old, with plenty of room for growth.
Hopefully, we’ll see some of that on the court during this window.
Haddadi, Hamed (Iran)
Haddadi isn’t a young buck like the aforementioned Sotto, but he doesn’t let that stop him. With 15.0 points, 11.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.3 steals, and 2.7 blocks per game, the seasoned veteran is averaging a double-double in three games across two windows.
Fans can always count on Haddadi to put up big statistical numbers, and they should expect the same in the upcoming window with Iran.
Qi Zhou (China)
This round of Asian Qualifiers will be interesting because it will be the first time China and Iran have played each other in a FIBA competition since 2015. In that game, Zhou Qi (then 19 years old) and Haddadi faced off, with Zhou tallying 6 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 blocks.
The two did meet again in the Final of the Asian Games 2018 (with China winning yet again), so it will be interesting to see how the third act unfolds.
After four windows, Zhou is easily among the top players in the Asian Qualifiers, averaging 17.6 points (4th among qualified players), 10.4 rebounds (3rd among qualified players), and 2.1 blocks per game (3rd among qualified players).
What he really wants is to come out of this window with another win over Haddadi and Iran, punching China’s ticket to the World Cup.
Zhelin Wang (China)
Zhou’s availability for China was questioned heading into the window after it was revealed that he had suffered a calf injury while training with his professional club in Australia.
He’s now more likely to play after being named to the roster for this window, but if China needs to rest their star center, they can always turn to Wang Zhelin.
The 2.12M (6’11”) center has been tearing it up in the Chinese Basketball Association for quite some time and continues to play an important role for the national team as well. Wang has averaged 8.3 points and 5.4 rebounds per game in seven World Cup Qualifier games.
If China requires more internal production at any point during this period, Wang could be the person they turn to.
Froling, Sam (Australia)
Froling hasn’t grabbed as much attention as the other towering presences on this list, but he’s been more than solid for the Boomers in 5 games played across two windows.
Australia’s 2.12M (6’11”) center averages 7.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. He’s also been consistent for the most part, with no games with fewer than 6 points and only one with fewer than 6 rebounds.
He might not blow you away, especially given the way Australia plays and rotates, but Froling has been a key part of their undefeated streak, and it’s easy to see why.
Rissetto, Anzac (New Zealand)
Because the Tall Blacks have already qualified for the World Cup, they face less pressure in Window 5. This allows them to provide opportunities for young players to showcase their abilities, such as former Junior Tall Black Rissetto, who competed in the U17 World Cup in 2018.
Back at the U17 World Cup, Rissetto was listed at 2.02 (6’8″) and averaged 6.3 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. However, he is now listed at 2.08M (6’10”) in other competitions. We’ll see how well he utilizes that size in his senior Tall Blacks debut against Lebanon and Jordan.
Wondering where to bet on your FIBA Basketball world cup favorite team? Register at OKBET Sports Betting and place your bet securely.
OKBET is licensed and legally operating sports betting and casino in the Philippines, rest assured your bets are in safe hands.
Sign up here for a referral code and get up to 50%cashback bonus on your first deposit. More bonuses and promotions are in store for you. Grab your chance now!
Stay in the loop for more FIBA World Cup Betting Updates!