Jumping to a quick start with a 30-point first quarter, Taiwan easily handled Uzbekistan for a 86-70 win at the Ota Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan, early yesterday afternoon to earn their first victory in the consolation round of the fourth FIBA Asia Cup basketball tournament.
The victory not only reclaimed some confidence for Taiwan after their disheartening loss to the Philippines in the quarter-finals on Thursday that cost them a chance to finish in the tournament’s top four, but it also put them into this morning’s showdown with China in a cross-Taiwan Strait battle for a fifth-place finish.
“We knew we would have an easier time [with Uzbekistan], but we tried to get as much floor time for some of our reserves as possible,” skipper Hsu Chin-che said after the game.
His troops took a double-digit lead in the opening quarter and never looked back.
Taiwan would lead by as many as 26 in the fourth quarter, before a 9-0 run by Uzbekistan made the final score more respectable.
“It [the late-game run by Uzbekistan] just shows how quickly things can change on the basketball court,” a concerned Hsu said after the victory, as the entire Taiwan squad stayed after the game to watch China take on Lebanon in preparation for today’s match.
“Rebounding is still something that we haven’t cleaned up and we must fix it soon if we are to have a chance against China,” Hsu added.
Taiwan were outrebounded 37 to 29 by Uzbekistan, which was well short of Hsu’s expectations.
It will take a much sharper effort in rebounding against a taller China lineup for Taiwan to have a chance of winning today’s contest.
Yesterday’s other scores:
‧ China 78, Lebanon 63
‧ Iran 77, Philippines 60
‧ Japan 73, Qatar 66