Team China out of FIBA Asia games

Source:Global Times Published: 2013-8-10 1:03:01

Chinese Taipei players celebrate after winning the game on Friday in Manila. Photo: CFP

Chinese Taipei players celebrate after winning the game on Friday in Manila. Photo: CFP

The Chinese national basketball team failed to qualify for the semifinals of the 2013 FIBA (International Basketball Association) Asia Championship after being defeated by Chinese Taipei 96-78 in Manila, the Philippines on Friday.

Team China created their worst record in the FIBA Asia Championship since they took part in 1975, while it was the first time for Chinese Taipei to take out their far more prominent mainland cousins.

Su Qun, editor-in-chief of the Guangzhou-based Basketball Pioneers newspaper, said on his Sina Weibo, "I have been commenting on basketball for nearly 20 years but I never felt so ashamed over a game."

"The national team needs a reform, but such cost is unacceptable," Su said live on CCTV, with his lips twitching.

Team China's star player Yi Jianlian, who was nursing a thigh injury, saw court time after being given anesthetic injections. Yi scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, but failed to lead his team to win the game, sobbing on the bench alone at the end of the game.

Another injured player, 24-year-old guard Liu Xiaoyu, was back on the court, but was again put onto the injury list due to a clash with a Chinese Taipei player in the third quarter.

Team China started the game with an 8-0 run, and scored four from beyond­ the arc in the first quarter.

 The first half saw both sides trade baskets while the mainland team took the lead. But Hung Chih-shan of Chinese Taipei ended the first half with a three-point buzzer-beater to leave the scoreboard at 50-40 in Team China's favor.

After the break, Chinese Taipei came out strong with an 8-0 run in two minutes, which made Team China's head coach Panagiotis Giannakis call a timeout. But the timeout didn't make for change as Chinese Taipei's Tien Lei scored a three-pointer, taking the lead from their opponent.

Quincy Davis, a former US citizen who now plays for Chinese Taipei, inspired his team with a slam dunk against Team China's veteran Wang Zhizhi, expanding their lead and ending the third quarter at 71-62 in favor of Chinese Taipei.

Davis scored the match-high 26 points, adding 10 rebounds to his team's comeback win.

The final quarter saw the Chinese team fail to adjust psychologically to the game's pace as they finished poorly in both scoring and defending. Lin Chih-chieh of Chinese Taipei ended the scoring with a three, ending the game at 96-78.

Bob Donewald, former head coach of Team China, said on his Tencent Weibo, "I feel sad for the players and the fans. This is a terrible loss to a great basketball country."

The defeat raised concerns on the team's future. A basketball fan named Li Bowen said on his Sina Weibo, "This is not the doomsday of the national team, but a day for changes."

"Problems of the team have been covered up by winning champions; I hope this loss would give the Chinese Basketball Association a chance to a thorough reconsideration."

The top three at this tournament will qualify for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup. The only way for the nation­al team to participate in next year's basketball World Cup will be competing for a FIBA-selected wild card.­­

Team China will face Jordan in semifinals fifth-eighth on Saturday whereas Chinese Taipei will face Iran, who defeated Jordan 94-50 earlier on Friday, in the semifinals.

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