Sunday, November 06, 2005

Taiwan beat Japan to win second EAG gold

Tien Lei made two game-clinching free-throws with 3.6 seconds remaining as Taiwan edged Japan 60-55 in East Asian Games title game and won its second EAG gold medal.

Taiwan won its first gold medal in 1997 Busan EAG and got silver in 2001 EAG in Osaka, Japan.

The gold medal didn't come easy. Led by 10(32-22) at halftime and as many as 15 points in the third quarter, Taiwan almost blew the game after missing several free-throws in crucial moments. And Japan rallied behind 19-year-old high schooler Takuya Kawamura, who made three three-pointers in the fourth quarter.

Kawamura's last field goal -- a back-breaking three pointer -- cut Japan's deficit to only three, 58-55, with 3.6 seconds left. But it's too late for Japan, who almost trailed the entire game. Tien made both of his free-throws to ice the game.

Lee Hsueh-lin led Taiwan with 15 points. Center Tsun Wen-din had 14 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals. Tien Lei had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds and added four steals.

Japan shocked China 68-60 in the semifinal. It's probably the biggest upset in the whole tournament, although China only sent its second national team.

And after today's final, I think Japan has finally found its shooting star of the new generation. Takuya Kawamura, who was named MVP in this summer's Basketball Without Borders Camp in China, is a sweeting-shooting scorer with a big heart -- at 19 years-old. He is tall enough to deal with most backcourt players in Asia at 190 cm. His potential is unlimited.

Taiwan beat South Korea 61-48 in an ugly semifinal game. Tsun Wen-din once again dominated the game with 22 points and 9 rebounds. Tien Lei had 16 points and 14 rebounds.

In women's final, Taiwan Women's NT play picked a wrong time to play poorly. Taiwan Women's, which beat China by more than 30 in the prelim, lost to China 71-67 in the title game.