Sunday, July 22, 2001

Day 2: Quarterfinal Almost Set

China and South Korea again toyed with their opponents on the second day (July 21) of the 21st ABC Championship and won the respective preliminary group, with China defeating Qatar 87-58 and South Korea hammering Lebanon 97-71. Just after two days of action, the 8-team quarterfinal field is almost set, which says a lot about this year's imbalance among participating teams.

Facing the strongest opponent Qatar in Group A, China did not get serious until the second half. G Lee Xiao-yung scored 18 points and helped China win Group A while SF Lee Nan scored 13. Five Chinese players scored in double-digit.

In Group B, South Korea pounded Lebanon with an unbelievable 16-32 from three-point territory, including a 7 for 9 shooting exhibition - in only 24 minutes --from 193cm F Yang Kyung-min, who scored game-high 23 points.

Not every game ended lopsided. Upsets highlighted the second day although they came in the second-tier of the tournament. Hong Kong upset Thailand 92-87 in overtime. Hong Kong SG Yung Kam-wah, who once played for Taiwan CBA's Mars, scored 7 of his 21 points in the overtime. In Group C, India shocked Uzbekistan 63-61 by Murli Mohan's baseline jumper with 0.3 seconds remaining. Uzbekistan failed to complete a dramatic comeback, when they rallied from a 20-point deficit with 1:30 left in the third quarter and evened the score at 61 with 7.8 seconds left in the game.

After just two days, the quarterfinal field is almost set. Under the game format, the prediction of the quarterfinal grouping is as follows:

Group I : Group A Winner China, Group B runner-up Lebanon, Group C winner Taiwan, Group D runner-up Japan/Syria

Group II: Group A runner-up Qatar, Group B winner South Korea, Group C runner-up India/Uzbekistan, Group D winner Japan/Syria

Taiwan has virtually clinched the Group C, as long as they beats Uzbekistan or keeps the losing margin under 16 points today in the final preliminary game. The only seeds unset are Group D winner and runner-up - Kuwait has been eliminated after two losses -- and Group C runner-up between India and Uzbekistan.

■Game Summaries
India 63-61 Uzbekistan
Hong Kong 92-87(OT) Thailand
South Korea 97-71 Lebanon
UAE 79-60 Singapore
Syria 107-95 Kuwait
China 87-58 Qatar

■Preliminary Standings
Group A
China 2-0, Qatar 1-1, Hong Kong 1-1, Thailand 0-2
Group B
South Korea 2-0, Lebanon 1-1, UAE 1-1, Singapore 0-2
Group C
Taiwan 1-0, India 1-1, Uzbekistan 0-1
Group D
Japan 1-0, Syria 1-0, Kuwait 0-2