Taiwan should have no problem advancing to the quarterfinal round in the FIBA Asia Championship 2009 in Tianjin, but a semifinal appearance would be a stretch, an analyst said in a preview article of fiba.qq.com -- the event's official Mandarin website.
Taiwan was fortunate to get the wild card invitation from FIBA Asia following Bahrain's withdrawal and barely kept its Asian Championship consecutive appearance record alive, the analyst wrote.
Top players Chen Hsin-an and Yang Yu-min, who played last season with Northeastern Tigers in the Chinese league CBA, both sat out the tournament due to injuries.
21-year-old guard Jet Chang was promoted to the final 12-man roster from the second NT and was a player to watch. Chang is currently playing for NCAA Div-II's BYU-Hawaii and known for his explosiveness and scoring ability.
The analyst said that Taiwan should not be underestimated. It did not play well in the East Asia Basketball Championship because of too many injured players. However, it beat Korea and Iran in the Jones Cup tournament last month, proving that it is capable of competing with Asia's big boys.
The toughest opponent Taiwan would face in the preliminary round will be Iran. Getting past Kuwait and Uzbekistan will not be a problem. Taiwan is expected to face Korea, Japan and Philippines in the second round but it should be able to squeeze into the final eight.
However, the analyst wrote, it will be another story in the knockout quarterfinal round as it will not be easy for Taiwan to beat China, Qatar or Lebanon.