DEATH GROUP, indeed. Taiwan's hot shooting finally comes to an end and lost to defending champion South Korea 54-61. The loss seemingly cost them the ticket in the final four.
Led by Seo Joong-Hoon and Hoon Joo-Yup's inside attack, Korea exposed Taiwan's most glaring weakness--interior offense and defense. Seo scored 21 and Hoon contributed 11. Korea led 34-20 at halftime and was never threatened by Taiwan.
South Korea sent its 193cm F/G Kim Young-Mun on Taiwan's Lo Shin-Liang, who were 21-27 from the field and averaged 28.5 ppg in Taiwan's first two wins, and it paid off. Lo scored only seven points in the game.
Taiwan was led again by Cheng Chih-Lung's 16 points. 200cm F/C Huang Chun-Hsiun scored 11 on three 3-PT in the second half. Cheng and Huang were the only two that reached double-figure.
Host Japan demonstrated its outstanding defense to cruise by Syria, 78-58. They won their first four games by an eye-whopping 38 ppg and looks like a lock to win the group F.
In the other games, Saudi Arabia surprisingly pounded Lebanon 92-69. Powerhouse China passed Kuwait 91-54 with no problem and averaged 33.7 in winning margins in three games.
Saudi Arabia 92-69 Lebanon(48-44)
China 91-54 Kuwait(41-20)
Standing:China 1-0, Saudi Arabia 1-0, Lebanon 0-1, Kuwait 0-1
Japan 78-58 Syria(38-27)
South Korea 61-54 Taiwan(34-20)
Standing:Japan 1-0, South Korea 1-0, Taiwan 0-1, Syria 0-1
UAE 79-72 Bahrain(28-34)
Hong Kong 89-59 Malaysia(44-32)
Uzbekistan 94-64 Philippines(52-30)
International recruiting and scouting has expended to Asia. Several pro scouts and big-name coaches are observing on the sideline, including Seattle SuperSonics scout Dwayne Casey. Former LSU coach Dale Brown and former University of Hawaii coach Bruce O'Neal will arrive in Japan on September 1. Casey's No.1 target is China's 7-6 center Yao Ming. He will also take a look at Chen Hsin-An, the 6-3 high-flying forward/guard of Taiwan.