Monday, July 23, 2001

Day 3: Tien Lei Lead Taiwan to Quarterfinal

18 year-old sensation Tien Lei shows why he wowed a tons of people in the East Asia Games in May. Tien's 19 points and 8 rebounds led Taiwan NT past Uzbekistan 79-65 in the final preliminary game on July 22. Taiwan advances to the quarterfinal as expected and will meet Japan in the first quarterfinal game today. Also advancing to the quarterfinals are China, South Korea, Lebanon, Syria, India and Qatar.

After leading 40-28 in the first half, Taiwan PG Yen Shin-shu committed three turnovers early in the third quarter. Uzbekistan responded with three consecutive three-pointers to even the score at 50-50 with three minutes remaining in the quarter.

Taiwan NT regrouped and regained the momentum on a three-pointer from SG Chiu Chi-yi, who scored 15 in the game, and never look back. Yen Shin-shu dished out 9 assists to go with 8 points. Uzbekistan made 10 three-pointers in the game.

South Korea routed UAE 85-50 and averaged an eye-popping 45-oint winning margin in three preliminaries. 205cm center Kim Joo-sung had 17 points and 11 rebounds, while 206cm center Seo Jang-hoon and SG Cho Sung-won scored 14 apiece. Sharp-shooting South Korea is believed to be the only team that can dim China's title hope.

China also slammed Hong Kong 99-44 in the final game, but 223cm C Yao Ming's injury is a concern in the quarterfinal. Yao was taken to the locker room after a minor injury in the game. His status is unclear.

The only upset of the day came in Group D when Syria beat Japan 75-65 and won the group, forcing Japan to the same group with China, Lebanon and Taiwan in the quarterfinal. It's possible that Japan intentionally lost the game, though. Syria dominated the backboard with a 48-29 rebounding advantage. Japan was led by Masaki Goto's 20 points.

■Game Summaries
Taiwan 79-65 Uzbekistan
Syria 75-65 Japan
South Korea 85-50 UAE
Qatar 80-60 Thailand
Lebanon 90-56 Singapore
China 99-44 Hong Kong

■Final Preliminary Standings
Group A
1. China 3-0 *
2. Qatar 2-1 *
3. Hong Kong 1-2
4. Thailand 0-3

Group B
1. South Korea 3-0 *
2. Lebanon 2-1 *
3. UAE 1-2
4. Singapore 0-3