Monday, July 30, 2007

Taiwan back to Asian Championship quarterfinal

Wu Dai-hao. (photo source:

It's not an achievement at all, but Taiwan Men's NT is finally back in the elite eight in the Asian Men's Basketball Championship after a long hard six years. The last time Taiwan was in the quarterfinals was in 2001, when it ranked 7th in the tournament.

Led by center Wu Dai-hao's 24 points, Taiwan beat Hong Kong 98-81 in its final prelim and wrapped up the preliminary round with a 2-1 record and advanced to the quarter as the No. 2 seed in Group D along with group leader Korea, which was 3-0 after defeating Syria 89-79.

Taiwan dominated the game and never gave Hong Kong a chance. Wu made 10 of 13 shots en route to another solid performance of 24 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists. SBL regular season and Finals MVP Lin Chih-jay had 23 points on 7-of-14 shooting.

Chen Hsin-an added 17 points and 7 boards while Yang Che-yi had 11 points and 5 rebounds. Taiwan almost made 70 percent of its two-pointers and had 11 threes in the game.

Hong was led by Li Kim Wong's 18 points. Lo Yi Ting had 12 while Fong Shing Yee added 10.

Taiwan was 7th in the 2001 Asian Championship but fell to an all-time worst 11th place in 2003. In 2005 it ranked 9th.

Making the quarterfinal will be the first step for newly-hired Korean head coach Chung Kwang-suk, who had said he hoped to lead Taiwan to the semifinals when he took over the team and replaced former head coach Lee Yung-kwang.

Wu Dai-hao averaged for 18 points, 6 rebounds and 2.3 assists after three games and has been successfully filled the void left by the absence of two injured big men Tsun Wen-din and Tien Lei.

Lin Chih-jay also averaged for 18 points to go with 6.3 rebounds. Chen Hsin-an is averaging 17 points and 6.3 rebounds. Yang Che-yi averaged for 15.7 points. These four players had accounted for almost 80 percent of Taiwan's scoring.

The one question remained before the second round: Will injured Tsun Wen-din play? Tsun's presence will take a lot of pressure off of Wu Dai-hao and Chen Hsin-an, who was forced to switched to the power forward position.