Sun, Jul 16, 2006 - Page 24 News List

Taiwan thrashes Qatar to make final

FINAL BECKONS Team Taiwan beat Qatar again to secure a place in today's final, despite a 86-74 loss to South Korea in their final group game on Friday


Second-half hero Tien Lei lays in a basket with a Qatar player defending in Taiwan's 83-63 win over Qatar last night.


Team Taiwan continued its dominance over Qatar in the semi-finals of this year's William Jones' Cup Basketball Tournament with an 83-63 blowout win last night at the Taipei Physical Education College Gymnasium.

For the second time in three days, the home team battered the giants from West Asia with another 20-point victory, following Thursday night's 85-64 trouncing of the Qataris, to prove that it could play shoulder-to-shoulder with one of Asia's top teams.

After dropping a tough loss to South Korea on Friday night, Team Taiwan went into the contest against Qatar wondering if the win on Thursday was a fluke.

But thanks to an outstanding effort by the entire squad, the outcome of game left no doubt in anyone's mind that Taiwan could be a title contender if it can play as a unit for four consistent quarters.

The game began with Taiwan greeting Qatar with a 7-2 run in the first three minutes of the contest, before Qatar answered with a 5-0 run of its own to knot things up at 7-all midway through the first quarter.

After several uncharacteristic turnovers by Qatar that helped Taiwan take a narrow 19-14 lead at the end of the first quarter, the game suddenly shifted in favor of the hosts, as Qatar was held scoreless for the first three minutes of the second quarter, only two points through the first seven minutes, before three straight three-pointers by Saad Abdulrahman helped pull Qatar within ten of Taiwan (35-25) by the end of the first half.

Six three pointers by five different Taiwanese players in the third quarter led the way for Taiwan in a 24-point quarter as it boosted its ten-point, halftime lead over Qatar to 16 points heading into the final quarter.

Never letting up, Taiwan worked a tenacious 2-3 zone defense to near perfection by upping its lead to 20 points with under five minutes to play in the game.

Qatar was able to rally with a number of 4-0 and 5-0 runs in the earlier part of the second half.

But Tien Lei of the Dacin Tigers would hit key three-pointers to stop the Qataris from breaking the double-digit barrier, as Taiwan enjoyed a sizable cushion throughout the second half.

Tien would finish out the game with 19 points, 15 of which came by way of five rally-killing three's in his best outing of the tournament so far.

Also starring for Team Taiwan, were the Yulon Dinos standout guard Lee Hsueh-lin and center Tseng Wen-ding, whose hard drives to the basket caused several defensive breakdowns for Qatar and formidable presence inside the paint respectively were the key reasons why Taiwan had such little trouble in the game.

The win put Taiwan into the title game for the second time in as many years, assuring the home team at least a silver-medal finish for the second straight time.

However, with an all-star cast from the Super Basketball League (SBL) in Tseng, Tien, Lin "the Beast" Chih-jeh, and Chen "Airman" Hsin-an, all playing as a group for the first time in what many considered Taiwan's own "Dream Team," anything less than a gold-medal finish would be considered a big letdown for Taiwan.

South korea 86 Taiwan 74

Despite losing its final preliminary-round game to South Korea in an 86-74 decision at the Taipei Physical Education College Gymnasium on Friday night, Team Taiwan managed to beat out the 3-4 Kazakhstan to qualify for the fourth-and-final spot in the medal round of this year's William Jones' Cup Basketball tournament with a 4-3 record.

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