Saturday, November 27, 2004

Stankovic Cup Final Day – Qatar slams Korea for Asian title

It’s only fit that Qatari players were awarded the gold medals from FIBA Asia President Sheikh Saud Bin Ali Al-Thani, who’s also from Qatar. For now, Qatar can claim it’s the best team in Asia, period.

The final day of the 1st FIBA Asia Stankovic Cup left no suspense like previous days as Qatar slamed injury-depleted Korea 82-65 in the championship game and host Taiwan routed Syria, who’s also hurt by injuries of key players, 82-60.

Under hard-working American coach Joseph Stiebing, Qatar will be now looking forward to better results in the upcoming 2005 Asian Championship, 2006 World Championships for Men in Japan, and 2006 Asian Games in Doha, where Qatar will be the host.

Final placing of the FIBA Asia Stankovic Cup tournament:
1. Qatar, 2. Korea, 3. Taiwan, 4. Syria, 5. Japan, 6. India, 7. Kuwait, 8. Philippines

Qatar 82, Korea 65
Yasseen Ismail Mousa had 28 points on 11-of-14 shooting and turned the basketball court into his playground. A couple of Mousa’s alley-oop dunks were the highlight of the night which Qatar enjoyed as Asian’s No.1.

E.A. Saeed also scored 26 points, mostly inside the paint where Qatar dominated. Qatar shot an amazing 73% in two-point range and led 40-14 on rebounding.

Qatar used the height advantage to jump in front in the first minute and never gave up the lead. The game was already over before halftime, when the score was 52-19. Korea wasn’t able to mount any comeback in the second half, mostly trailing by more than twenty points.

Korea’s chance of beating Qatar was already slim when it lost its starting PG Kim Tae-sul two days ago. The chance was even slimmer when Korea’s top scorer Cho Sung-min hurt his ankle in the second quarter. Cho sat out the remaining game.

Taiwan 82, Syria 60
Taiwan walked out the horrible slump and beat the short-handed Syria 82-60 in the third-place game. Tien Lei scored 15 of his team-high 16 points in the second half as Taiwan opened up the game with an 18-5 run early in the fourth quarter.

Tien Lei, who had only one point in the first half, made three straight three-pointers to spark the fourth quarter rally, which was concluded by five straight points from Chen Hsin-an. With the run Taiwan turned a nine-point lead into 22-point, 68-46.

Taiwan finally showed their energy following consecutive losses to Korea and Qatar. They moved the ball well and shot the ball better, making 11 three-pointers in the game. Wu Dai-hao operated in the paint and scored all of his 10 points in the first half.

Syria was plagued by the absence of leading scorer Michel Madanli and M.S. Sharif as both players were forced to sit out due to injury. Point guard M. Albo Sada had 13 points to pace the Syrians.

Japan 75, India 65
K. Komiya scored 10 of Japan’s final 12 points as Japan beat India 75-65 to finished fifth-place in the Stankovic Cup. Tomoo Amino kept his strong showing in the tournament with 20 points and 11 rebounds.

Sparked by 173cm PG H. Kashiwakura’s five straight points, Japan pulled away and lead 59-45 in the end of the third quarter. Japan led 68-54 with five minutes to go. India’s M.S. Ahmed and S. Robinson made eight free-throws to cut the deficit to eight with less than two minutes remaining. But K. Komiya also countered with four straight free-throws to secure the victory.

Although Japan only finished for the fifth-place in the tourney, the team can fly back to Tokyo with all smiles. Japan had four wins in five games and was out of the semi because of point differential. It shows dramatic improvement on defense and boosted its confidence on offense.

Kuwait 88, Philippines 66
Philippines gave Kuwait a good fight in the first half, trailing by only one 44-43. O. Mubarak was determined not to let Kuwait lose to a Filipino college team though. Mubarak had 32 points and 11 rebounds as Kuwait pulled away in the second half. Philippines lost all five games in the tournament by a humiliating 36.6-point margin.

Final Day Game Summary

Championship Game: Qatar 82-65 Korea (Half 52-27)
Qatar – Y.I. Mousa 28p(11-14 FG)+14rb, E.A. Saeed 26p+6rb
Korea – Chu Cheol-min 25p(7 3PT), Chun Jung-kyu 11p, Kang Eun-sik 10p

Third-place Game: Taiwan 82-60 Syria (Half 29-25)
Taiwan – Tien Lei 15p(4 3PT)+4a+2s, Chang Chi-feng 15p, Chen Hsin-an 13p+5a, Chou Shih-yuan 10p, Wu Dai-hao 10p, Tsun Wen-din 4p+8rb+7blk
Syria – M. Abo Sada 13p+7rb, W. Yakoub 9p+7rb+3blk

5/6 place Game: Japan 75-65 India (Half 39-36)
Japan – T. Amino 20p+11rb, K. Komiya 14p, K. Takeuchi 4p+15rb
India – M.S. Ahmed 22p, S. Robinson 17p

7/8 place Game: Kuwait 88-66 Philippines (Half 44-43)
Kuwait – O. Mubarak 32p+11rb, S. Hasan 18p+5rb
Philippines – B. Ilad 15p+13rb, M. Baracael 17p