Taiwan NT played its best tournament game in the last 10 plus years, defeating New Zealand 79-73 and advance to the Jones Cup final, in which they will face long time nemesis South Korea NT.
Both Taiwan and South Korea are 2-0 in the single-round, four-team playoff. Two winless teams in the playoffs, Costa Rica and New Zealand will play for the third place.
Yen Hsin-Shu(182cm), the most promising point guard in years, switched to shooting guard and exploded for 30 points, shooting unbelievable 7-10 from three-point range. He also remembered how to pass, dishing out game-high 6 assists.
Yen made four three-pointers in a five-minute stretch and led Taiwan jumped to a 33-21 early lead. New Zealand answer back with a 10-0 run and trailed by 5 in halftime, 35-40.
In the second half, Yen scored 3 points in a 8-4 opening spurt to boost Taiwan's lead back to nine. New Zealand's 7-foot center Robert Hickey then scored 8 in a 13-4 run to tie the score at 52 with 13:20 remaining. Yen again stepped forward, making three three-pointers and an acrobatic drive to up Taiwan's lead to double-digit with 2:30 remaining, 79-68.
Lo Shing-Liang scored 19 for Taiwan and PG Chou Jung-San dished out five assists. But the credit also goes to Taiwan's bluecollar frontline, which fight the whole game to keep New Zealand's two seven-footers from the paint. Undersized Taiwan surprisingly won the rebounding battle 27-22. Huang Chun-Shun pulled down team-high 8 rebounds. In all, Taiwan shot a respectable 12-27 from three-point territory.
New Zealand was led by Robert Hickey's 17 and Pero Cameron's 15.
South Korea NT 90-84 Costa Rica
South Korea:Kang Dong-Hee 23p(5-7 3PT),6a, Cho Sang-Won 23p(7-12 3PT), Hur Jae 13p,10a
Costa Rica:Jimmy Garcia 18p(6-11 3PT), Henry Martinez 17p
Bahrain NT 50-49 Soweto Panthers
Bahrain trailed almost the entire game but Ayyoob Ghuloom knocked down a winning three-pointer with 4 seconds remaining and saved the day for Bahrain. Soweto Panthers finished 7th in the tournament.
Bahrain NT:Hussain Quaheri 15p, Nooh Akber 14p
Soweto Panthers:Eric Makwela 14p, Sfiso Ncgobo 13p
Championship game: Taiwan NT-South Korea NT
3rd Place game:New Zealand-Costa Rica
5th place game:Taiwan National Second-Bahrain
7th place:Soweto Panthers