Host Japan lost its most crucial second round game to long time nemesis South Korea, 61-64. Japan will have to defeat Taiwan today to advance to the semifinals. However, potential matchup with China in the semi virtually declare Japan has no chance to finish better than 3rd place.
Defending champion South Korea stormed back from nine points down in the second half to win the game. Korea's brilliant team defense proved to be the winning factor, limiting the inside attack of Japan's fearsome frontcourt, 6-6 Michael Takahashi and 6-9 Dan Weiss, throughout the whole game.
With Korea rallying to reclaim the lead, 60-58, in the last minute. Japan's PG Kenichi Sako knocked down a three-pointer with 30 seconds remaining to go and made it 61-60, Japan. But Hur Jae and Cho Sung-Won scored the last four points of the game to seal the win. Korea also led 34-31 at halftime.
Michael Takahashi scored 6 points and pulled down only five rebounds in 33 minutes. Japan's backcourt was still awesome. Makoto Hasegawa tallied 20 points and Takehiko Orimo contributed 14.
Korea is now 24-13 all-time vs Japan and secured its top place in Group F with two straight wins, which means they will avoid playing China in the cross-over semifinals. Japan and Taiwan, with 1-1 each, will face each other today for the place against China in the semi.
Taiwan regained its top form and defeated Syria 89-81 in the day's last game. Lo shin-Liang led with 25 points. Huang Chun-Hsiun scored 18p and Hsu Chi-Chao 17. Cheng Chih-Lung collected 11 points. Taiwan trailed 33-35 in rebounding but shot 59% from 2-PT range and 52% for 3-PT.
China crushed Saudi Arabia 85-56 for their second straight second round wins and clinched the top place in Group E. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait will fight for the last final four spot today.
Kuwait 86-81 Lebanon(40-45)
China 85-56 Saudi Arabia(44-22)
Standing:China 2-0,Saudi Arabia 1-1,Kuwait 1-1,Lebanon 0-2
South Korea 64-61 Japan(34-31)
Taiwan 89-81 Syria(39-37)
Standing:South Korea 2-0,Japan 1-1,Taiwan 1-1,Syria 0-2
UAE 94-88 Hong Kong(41-41)
Bahrain 90-85 Malaysia(44-37)
Standing:UAE 2-0, Hong Kong 1-1,Bahrain 1-1,Malaysia 0-2
Philippines 82-58 Thailand(46-31)
Standing:Uzbekistan 1-0,Philippines 1-1,Thailand 0-1