Taiwan fall short to Japan in battle for seventh place finish

By Paul Huang  /  Contributing Reporter

Mon, Sep 26, 2011 - Page 20

Falling short by a ton for the third straight game, Taiwan lost to Japan in an 81-72 decision to settle for an eighth-place finish in this year’s FIBA Asia Championship at the Wuhan Sports Complex in Wuhan, China, yesterday afternoon.

It was the worst finish for the Islanders in recent years, compared with a fifht-place finish in 2009 and a sixth-place finish in 2007.

“Things did not work out the way we had planned them,” skipper Chou Jung-san said after the game.

His troops dug themselves a 20-point hole in the opening frame and played catch-up the entire way before losing by nine in the end.

Injuries also took their toll for Taiwan in this year’s competition, as six of the original dozen suffered injuries that were serious enough to sideline them by the end of the game against Japan.

“Of course [injuries] played a part in this game, but that’s not an excuse for us to lose the game though,” Chou added.

He lost point guard Lee Hsueh-lin and James Mao in the quarter-finals against the Philippines on Friday and forward Chien Chia-hung and guard Su Yi-chieh in Saturday’s match versus Iran, before forwards Wu Tai-hao and Chen Hsin-an went down during yesterday’s game.

Japan came out firing in the opening frame, converting five of seven three-pointers to grab a staggering 25-5 lead after the first eight minutes of play.

That proved more than Taiwan could handle, despite an all-out rally to pull them within six of Japan mid-way through the fourth quarter, before losing by nine in the end.

Three players scored in double-digits for Taiwan, led by Lin’s game-high 18, while Japan’s Kosuke Takeuchi netted 16 to lead a foursome of double-digit scorers for Japan, who closed out the competition with a 7th-place finish.

In the title game between China and Jordan, the home hosts showed no mercy on their own turf by edging past Jordan in a 70-69 final to win their 15th title in 18 chances.