Saturday, July 28, 2007

Yang Che-yi led Taiwan to key win over Syria

Chen Hsin-an

Yang Che-yi exploded for 30 points to match basket by basket with Syria's ultra-talented scorer Michael Madanly and led Taiwan NT to a 90-66 blowout, probably the most important victory for Taiwan in the entire Asian Men's Basketball Championship, which opened in Tokushima, Japan Saturday.

By defeating Syria, Taiwan is expected to earn a quarterfinal seat although there are still two games vs. Korea and Hong Kong to be played. If everything goes as expected, Taiwan and Korea will be top two in Group D and advance to the final eight.

Yang was hot for the entire game, making 13 of 19 shots including 4-of-9 from threes. Yang's hot hand helped Taiwan to a 55-29 second half. Taiwan was a different team in the second half, when they sank 8 of 12 threes to break the game open.

Chen Hsin-an had his best game in a while in turning in 20 points and 7 rebounds. Lin Chih-jay had 18 points to go with 11 rebounds. Wu Dai-hao added 10 points and 9 boards while Lee Hsueh-lin had 12 points.

Hurt by losing Tien Lei and Tsun Wen-din, Taiwan successfully protected the glass and outrebounded Syria, which explained why it took advantage of its speed and scored a bunch on the transition.

Taiwan head coach Cheng Kwang-suk did not want to mess up with the important game and only played seven players with Yang Che-yi, Lin Chih-jay and Chen Hsin-an all played 40 minutes.

Taiwan trailed 37-35 at halftime.

Syria was paced by Madanly's 37 points but no one else stepped up their game. Madanly did give Taiwanese defenders trouble inside and out as no one could defend him.

Strangely, Syria did not played its Brazilian-Syrian players -- Eduardo Caviglia and Marcelo De Andrade Correa. According to reports they had problem with the time when they had acquired their Syrian citizenship. However, Japan did play American player J.R. Sakuragi, who didn't get his Japenese citizenship until July 2. I don't what was happening there.

Cheng Kwang-suk

Wu Dai-hao

Michael Madanly

Game results:
Qatar 106-49 India
Kazakhstan 107-53 Indonesia
Jordan 78-65 China
Korea 107-67 Hong Kong
Taiwan 90-66 Syria
Japan 109-66 UAE
Iran 75-69 Philippines
Lebanon 104-59 Kuwait

(Photo source: