By Paul Huang / Taipei Times
Monday, Jul 14, 2008, Page 20
Taiwan proved no match for Qatar on Saturday night as they were on the wrong end of an 84-80 scoreline on the third day of the Jones Cup at the Taipei County Sinjhuang Gymnasium.
Failure to establish an inside presence because of the absence of a true center continued to haunt the hosts as they relied predominantly on an inconsistent perimeter game that has not delivered a winning formula.
Even though the resilient Taiwanese showed no sign of letting up in the game, with a fierce rally that brought them back from as many as 19 points down, the outcome of the contest was never in doubt.
“It was a moral victory for us, since it taught some of our younger guys about not quitting,” team captain Yang Tseh-yi (Yulon Dinos) said after the game.
Qatar wasted little time exploiting Taiwan’s weak interior defense by punching the ball inside the paint regularly, with Erfan Ali Saeed contributing a dozen points en route to a 28-16 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Then came a swarming three-point attack that converted nine-of-17 attempts to force Taiwan out of their “defend the middle” game plan, which then opened up the paint for the Saeed, who scored a game-high 21 points.
Four different players scored in double-digits for Taiwan, led by Yang’s 17 and Ou-Yang Jing-hen (dmedia Numen) in a close second with 16.
Taiwan take on Egypt at 7pm tonight in another uphill battle as the Egyptians look to feast off the shortest line-up (average height of 190cm) at this year’s competition with a towering team that averages more than 200cm.
Finding a way to sustain a high-pressure defense may be Taiwan’s only hope of pulling off an upset as the speedy guards could utilize their speed to create some turnovers such as they did in the final quarter against Qatar.