Saturday, July 28, 2001

Final Day: Taiwan Finish 7th in 2001 Asian Championship

Destined to a worst-ever finish, Taiwan NT figured 7th place is better than 8th. Taiwan staged an unbelievable comeback, when they overcame a 13-point deficit with three minutes remaining in regulation, to beat India 92-90 in overtime and finished 7th in the 21st ABC Championship today.

Apparently over-confident after an 85-55 victory in the preliminary round, Taiwan took India lightly and quickly found out India was for real in their final game. After a 24-22 first quarter, Taiwan trailed by three, 38-41 in halftime. Things got worse when India pulled out a 14-0 run in the third and boosted the lead to 64-49.

Still trailing 65-78, Taiwan head coach Lee Yun-kwang had no choice. Going to a full-court press defense, Taiwan forced India to consecutive turnovers and made three three-pointers to cut the deficit to one point, 78-79, with 50 seconds remaining. Following an India miss, Chou Hong-yu made one of two free-throws to even the score but Yen Shin-shu failed to make the tie-breaker and the game went into overtime.

Taiwan's three-point-attack hasn't finished yet. Yang Yu-min and Chen Chih-chung swished three three-pointers in OT to ice the win with one minute left. Taiwan shot a combined 16-44 behind three-point arch, both national team single-game record. Yang Yu-min finished with 25 points, including 6-12 from three-point territory. Chen Chih-chung had 20 points. Yen Shin-shu scored 14 while SF Tien Lei had 11 points.

Taiwan's poor rebounding effort (Taiwan 39-51 India) again force them to a hard-fought game. They are really fortunate to win the game.

South Korea 95-94(OT) Syria
Coming off a disheartening loss in the semi, South Korea lost their confidence and outside shooting in the last game. Thanks to a surprising three-pointer from seldom-used PF Lee Gyu-sup, South Korea managed to a 95-94 overtime victory over Syria and finished third in the ABC Championship.

Syria pounded the Koreans on the boards and challenged South Korea's outside shooting. South Korea only made 4-24 from the three-point line and fell to a 39-51 rebounding disadvantage. With a little luck, South Korea came home with a 3rd place trophy, the worst finish in their last three ABCs. South Korea won the 1997 ABC and lost to China in 1999 title game.

Seo Jang-hoon had 27 points and 11 rebounds to lead South Korea. Choo Seung-gyun had 24 points. Syria was led by Oussama Madani's 30 points and 10 rebounds. Mohamad Hajar also had 27 and 15.

■Final Day Score
Final - China 97-63 Lebanon
3rd-4th Place - South Korea 95-94(OT) Syria
5th-6th Place - Qatar 74-65 Japan
7th-8th Place - Taiwan 92-90(OT) India