TIANJIN (FIBA Asia Championship) – James Yap scored 15 of his game-high 23 points in the third quarter and SEABA champions Philippines staged a superb second half rally to defeat wild card entrants Chinese Taipei 77-70 in pivotal Group E eight-final round game on Monday.
James Yap returned a 55.55% field record (5/9), including a staggering 4/6 in three-pointers as Philippines outscored Taipei 29-19 in the third quarter.
Philippines who had inched their way back to a two-point deficit by the end of the first half, thus perched themselves firmly in the driving seat.
Yap fired six successive points in less than a minute midway through the first quarter and Philippines had transformed a 38-41 to a 44-41 lead in quick jiffy.
That was the first time Philippines went ahead in the game and they never trailed again.
Yap had no further success in the fourth quarter, but his third quarter blitz was good enough for his team.
Willie Miller Jr had an all-round consistent shooting performance and scored 17 points for Philippines, with a 75% record in field attempts, converting all his five three-pointer attempts.
"I think our shooting percentage was the key especially in three-pointers," Philippines coach Joseller Guiao said.
Philippines went 50% (15/30) in three-pointers as against Taipei’s woeful 7% (1/15).
Chinese Taipei who led for the better part of the game suffered a mid-game slump.
"I think their defence really caught us by surprise in the second half," Taipei coach Chung Kwang-suk said.
Tseng Wen-Ting, who went on to finish as Taipei’s leading scorer with 21 points, had only three to add in the third quarter to his eight first half points.
Philippines coach Joseller Guiao worked out some tight defence plans, which his players executed and Tseng was restricted to merely one look at the goal for the entire third quarter.
"Not that we had anything special worked out for him (Tseng). It was just that the entire defence stepped up in the third quarter," Guiao said.
"But he’s a very good player, and a smart player. He really scared us in the fourth quarter," Guiao added.
Tseng converted that one attempt and fought back gallantly in the fourth quarter reeling in 10 points, but by then Philippines had hot cruise mode.
Miller’s three-pointer that almost coincided with the final buzzer sealed the issue.