Wed, Aug 15, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Asian Games: Taiwan starts off strong

THIRD-QUARTER SURGE:Coach Charlie Parker credited Ray Chen with their win, saying that the captain set the pace of Taiwan’s comeback in the second half over Japan

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Japan’s Takuya Hashimoto shoots over Taiwan’s Ray Chen, right, yesterday in their Asian Games Group C match in Jakarta.

Photo: AFP

Taiwan got off to a winning start in men’s basketball and handball at the Asian Games after defeating Japan and India respectively in the group stage.

Basketball captain Ray Chen led by example with 18 points, while forward Liu Cheng added 14 to prevail over Japan 71-65 in yesterday’s Group C opener at the GBK Basketball Hall in Jakarta.

Japan hit their stride early, going ahead by six points at the end of the first quarter and leading 37-30 at halftime, but Taiwan found their scoring touch with field goals and three-pointers in the third quarter, draining 29 points against Japan’s 16 to take the lead 59-53.

In the fourth quarter, Japan chipped away to close within two points, but Taiwanese-American Douglas Creighton sank two three-pointers in the final stretch and Liu grabbed a couple of rebounds to secure the six-point victory.

“After trailing Japan early, we followed our coach’s instructions and played better defense in the second half,” said Creighton, who plays for Pauian Archiland in the Super Basketball League.

Head coach Charlie Parker singled out the team captain for special praise.

“In the second half, it was what I wanted to see from Ray Chen. He directed the game’s tempo and launched the offense under his control,” the American said.

“Our team needed Chen to fire up the offense,” he added. “It was not an easy game for him. Japan paid special attention to contain him, but Chen came through for us.”

Taiwan is to face Hong Kong on Monday next week, then Qatar on Saturday.

In men’s handball, Taiwan faces a tough Group D, which includes India, Bahrain and Iraq.

Taiwan were in sharp form in their opener on Monday, scoring 19 goals in each half on 63 shot attempts to triumph 38-28 over India at Popki Sports Hall.

Captain Chiu Yi-fan netted an outstanding eight goals, with winger Hsiao Nien-cheng and right back Chao Hsien-chang contributing five goals each.

Bahrain downed Iraq 30-24 in the other Group D match on Monday.

Taiwan are next to face Iraq today and Bahrain on Friday.

VOLLEYBALL CUP

Meanwhile in the Asia Men’s Volleyball Cup in Taipei, local fans hailed Taiwan’s 3-1 win over Kazakhstan on Monday to advance to the semi-finals.

Following their loss to Iran in the preliminaries, Taiwan produced a surprising run to defeat Australia 3-0 and Thailand 3-2 in the playoffs.

In the semi-final last night, Iran advanced to the final after defeating Taiwan 25-19, 25-20, 25-23.

Taiwan are to play Japan for the bronze medal today. If they win, it will be the highest Taiwan has ever placed, after finishing fourth in 2010 and 2016.

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