Friday, September 16, 2005

Taiwan beat Kazakhstan for ninth palce in Asian Championship

Yang Yu-min had 20 points and Chen Chih-chun 14 as Taiwan rallied from a 16-point deficit to beat Kazakhstan and finished for ninth place in the 2005 Asian Championship. Taiwan failed to reach the goal of returning to the top six, although they played hard in every game.
Taiwan had a 5-2 record in the championship. It lost to China and Iran in the preliminary and was bumped out of the quarterfinal once again. While a ninth-place finish is better than 11th-place in 2003, no one will call it an improvement because the expectation is still high for the basketball-loving country.
Kazakhstan almost made every open three versus Taiwan's zone defense in the first 15 minutes and led 30-14 midway thru the second quarter. Sub Yang Che-yi have 9 points, including two timely threes, in the third to help Taiwan take the lead and entered the final quarter leading 57-53.
Behind starting point guard Andrei Shpeht, Kazakhstan recharged and took the lead 63-61. Taiwan head coach Lee Yun-kwang quickly put Tsun Wen-din, who had four fouls, back in and regained the momentum.
Yang Che-yi had 11 points, including 9 in the third quarter. Wu Dai-hao had 10 points. Lee Chi-yi Had 7 points.
Shpeht led Kazakhstan with 16 points. V. Rosnovski had 14 points. Like Taiwan, Kazakhstan came close of making the final eight before losing to Japan by two in the deciding preliminary game.
With most of its players born after 1980, Kazakhstan will be a team to watch in Asia's "second division" in the coming years after head coach Aleksei Erupkin and assistant Vitali Strebkov, both former NT players, taking over the new NT coaching staff. And keep an eye on Anton Ponomarev, a 17-year-old kid at 209cm who has a world of potential.