TIANJIN (FIBA Asia Championship) – Wildcard entrants Chinese Taipei showed more variety in their offensive plays and defeated fellow East Asian nation Japan 99-79 in a crucial Group E game on Wednesday.
The win helped Taipei finish their eight-final round with 2-3 record and take the last available quarterfinal place from Group E.
Taipei will now play against the top finishing team of Group F in the quarterfinals slated for Friday.
“It’s quite an achievement entering the last eight in this highly competitive fray,” said Taipei coach Chung Kwang-Suk.
“We’ve had our ups and down. I’m glad we made the quarterfinals,” Chung added.
Japan, who finished 1-4, failed to make the top eight for the first time in the FIBA Asia Championships. They will now play the 9-12 classification.
“It’s not easy talking about of a losing team day in and day out,” said Japan coach Osamu Kuraishi.
“We are going to salvage as much as possible in the classification and play for national pride,” Kurashi added.
“But more importantly we will run a thorough analysis on what went wrong when we get back home,” he said.
Japan held the scoring edge in the first five minutes of the game but a 10-0 run turned the tables in Taipei’s favour.
Taipei didn’t allow Japan to even the tie scores after that.
Taipei unleashed a scorching 14-4 scoring advantage in the first five minutes of the second half to take the game further away leaving Japan no chance to recover.
Tseng-Wen Ting led the Taipei cause, especially in that third quarter charge. Tseng-Wen returned a game-high 20 points, 14 of them in the second half.
Lee Hsueh-Lin and Chang Chih-Feng had held the Taipei campaign on course before that.
Lee Hsueh scored 15 of his game’s 16 points in the first half. And Chang Chih contributed 12 for the game, 10 of them in the first quarter.
Tien Li was consistent throughout for his 16 points.
Joji Takeuchi and Kei Igarashi shared the scoring honours for Japan with 18 points each.
Igarashi was more consistent but Tokeuchi scored 16 of his game’s score in the first half.