'Lebanese Tiger' El Khatib cites the good, and bad from the win over Korea (video)
BEIRUT (FIBA Asia Cup 2017) - One down but a lot more to go. That's the reality facing hosts Lebanon at the FIBA Asia Cup following their 72-66 win over Korea.
The Cedars very nearly blew a 13-point advantage they had when a Korea comeback coincided with Lebanon pulling 38-year-old veteran forward Fadi El Khatib out of the game in the final seconds of the third quarter to give him a rest.
Fadi El-Khatib aka The Lebanese Tiger (16pts 5reb 4ast vs Korea) is still one of the best at 37 years old! #FIBAAsiacup2017
Korea capitalized on some Lebanese mistakes and pulled to within two points, and attempted a potential go-ahead 3-pointer that fortunately for the home side stayed out.
Lebanon then surged back into a comfortable lead.
El Khatib, the greatest player in the country's history, said: "Always the first game in a tournament, it's a tough one. The good thing is that we got the win.
"The bad thing is they cut our 13-point lead down to two, so we have to learn so that we don't keep making these mistakes. We have to control the game."
|Definitely game-by-game, the national team can reach the highest level of what we can play.
- El Khatib
Lebanon will next face a young but very interesting New Zealand Tall Blacks team that won its opener against Kazakhstan.
El Khatib, who had 16 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists and played an eye-popping 34 minutes and 48 seconds, knows there is room for improvement for Lebanon. He expects the team to get better.
"Definitely game-by-game, the national team can reach the highest level of what we can play," he said.
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(Watch #1 Play of the Day from Lebanon's game against Korea)