Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Taiwan U-18's roadblock to semi - Kazakhstan

Taiwan men's U-18 will face Kazakhstan in the final second round game Wednesday night to vie for a seed in the Asian U-18 semifinals in Urumqi, China, after splitting its last two games.

Taiwan was routed by China, 101-57, as expected Tuesday with Chang Tsun-shien again leading the team in scoring with 21 points. The team beat Kuwait 107-76 Monday. A victory over Kazakhstan will put Taiwan in the second place in Group I, behind China.

But it will not be easy. Half of Kazak players played in this year's Jones Cup and showed enormous potential. The leader of the pack is 6-10 forward/center Anton Ponomarev, who averaged 20.1 points (#3) and 9.1 rebounds (#2) in the Jones Cup.

Taiwan head coach Tien Ben-yu made clear Ponomarev will be the primary concern for Taiwanese defense. Dmitriy Klimov is another player to keep an eye on.

Injured Chen Yao-ting and Lin Yi-fu are questionable for the game, which hurt the Taiwanese because both have been starters.

Taiwan is expected to counter Kazakhstan, who has the height advantage, with zone defense, Tien said.