Tuesday, July 24, 2001

Day 4: Emotions Run High in China - Lebanon Game

The game between China and Lebanon, which China won 87-76, ended in the biggest brawl in ABC Championship history. In the bench clearing fight that also involved numerous fans, at least three Lebanon players were injured and taken to the hospital. Both teams are waiting for further announcement and punishment from the Asian Basketball Confederation.

Emotions ran high in the whole game, in which you can see coaches of both teams screaming at refs and players throwing cheap-shots again and again at each other. With two seconds remaining and the outcome set, the worst thing happened. First-time Chinese NT member Chang Chen threw punches at one of the Lebanon guard and the two began fighting. Immediately players from two teams poured onto the court to join the brawl.

Chinese forward Liu Yu-dong also confronted Lebanon center Joe Vogel at the center court. To support their home team, crowds began throwing mineral water bottles and other objects at Lebanese players with no mercy. Within minutes, the whole stadium exploded into a war zone. The most unbelievable thing is, due to the lack of securities, the fight lasted more than 10 minutes. It's said that either Liu Yu-dong or Lee Nan picked up a scissor from team trainer and tried to stab the Lebanese players.

Finally both teams finally were taken to the locker room. And the post-game press conference was cancelled. Lebanon head coach Johnny Neumann complained to the media and threatened pulling out of the tournament if the ABC failed to provide 100% security.

After the protest from the Lebanese side, ABC president Cheng Man-kee said he will decide the final punishment after the technical committee completed the investigation report.

In another important quarterfinal matchup, South Korea regrouped in the final quarter with timely help from veteran Cho Sung-won and center Seo Jang-hoon to beat Qatar 89-72. Seo had 26 points and 16 rebounds to lead South Korea. KBL MVP Cho Sung-won had 18 points and made several key jumpers in the final quarter to open up the game.

South Korea limited Qatar to 30% shooting percentage but was 4-24 from the three-point line. The Koreans also were plagued by their athletic opponents, committing 32 fouls in the game . Qatar's Yaseen Mahmoud scored a game-high 29 points.

▓Quarterfinal Score
China 87-76 Lebanon
Japan 69-60 Taiwan
South Korea 89-72 Qatar
Syria 88-62 India

▓Quarterfinal Standings
Group I - China 1-0, Japan 1-0, Lebanon 0-1, Taiwan 0-1
Group II - South Korea 1-0, Syria 1-0, Qatar 0-1, India 0-1

▓Classification Score
Hong Kong 92-71 Singapore
UAE 83-63 Thailand