Monday, December 11, 2006

Asian Games - Taiwan to meet host Qatar in quarterfinal

Taiwan pounded Uzbekistan 106-69 as expected in its last preliminary game and eventually ended up as the No. 4 seed in Gorup F after Kazakhstan beating Japan, 77-72. Taiwan will face host Qatar next in the quarterfinal.

Taiwan eked out a mere two point lead at the half as the team played as carelessly as it could in the first half. It finally put the game away in the third quarter and made the score out of reach with a 30-9 fourth quarter.

Tien Lei had a team-high 22 points while Chou Chih-yuan had his personal-high 20 points in the tournament. Lin Chi-jay had 19 points to go with 7 boards and 6 assists. Chen Hsin-an made three threes in 15 minutes.

Vyacheslav Belokurov had 20 to pace Uzbekistan, which committed 28 turnovers in the game and finished the preliminaries with five losses.

Kazakhstan beat Japan by five in the next game.

As Taiwan, Japan and Kazakhstan had a three-way tie with 3 wins and two losses. Japan secured its No. 2 seed with the best point differential (+5) in head-to-head matchups among three teams. Kazakhstan (+3) got the No. 3 seed while Taiwan finished fourth (-8).

The final preliminary of China vs. Lebanon is still going on but the final placings of two preliminary groups should be as follows:

Group E: 1. Qatar, 2. Jordan, 3. Iran, 4. South Korea
Group F: 1. China, 2. Japan, 3. Kazakhstan, 4. Taiwan

The quarterfinal matchup should go as follows:
E1 Qatar vs. F4 Taiwan
E2 Jordan vs. F3 Kazakhstan
E3 Iran vs. F2 Japan
E4 South Korea vs. F1 China

Taiwan NT routed Qatar -- not once, but twice -- in this year's Jones Cup tournament. But any sane person will not bet against the home team in a tournament like the Asian Games because of the hoe court advantage. Plus, the Jones Cup is only an invitational tournament.

Theoretically, Taiwan will be in the semifinals if it beat Qatar. But the reality is, it will be very very hard for Taiwan to improve on its previous finish -- 7th place -- in the Asian Games.

(The China-Lebanon game is still on)
Group E
1. Qatar 4-1
2. Jordan 4-1
3. Iran 3-2
4. South Korea 3-2
5. Syria 1-4
6. Bahrain 0-5

Group F
1. China 4-0
2. Japan 3-2
3. Kazakhstan 3-2
4. Taiwan 3-2
5. Lebanon 1-3
6. Uzbekistan 0-5