2013 East Asian Basketball Championships Roundup: Day 3

The Koreans topped Group A by beating Macau, while the Japanese advanced after a nail-biter against the Taiwanese. Also, the Chinese trampled all over Mongolia to sweep Group B.

Li Muhao and the Chinese continue to roll
in the 2013 EABA tournament.
(image from Sohu.com)

In the first game, Japan and Taiwan fought tooth-and-nail till the very end, but it was Team Hayabusa that came out on top, 71-70. By virtue of this win, Japan finishes second in Group A, advances to the semifinals, and books one of the five East Asia seats to the 2013 FIBA Asia tourney in Manila. Taiwan, on the other hand, is relegated to the battle for fifth place against Mongolia and must win that match in order to earn the last ticket to the Manila joust (provided they don’t boycott it, of course). The backcourt duo of Kosuke Kanamaru and Ryota Sakurai led Japan in this one. Kanamaru scored 15 points while Sakurai added 13 markers. Kosuke Takeuchi, who was rested in yesterday’s game versus Macau, also did well with 12 points and 8 rebounds, though he didn’t score any in the fourth period. Four players, meanwhile, scored in double-figures for Taiwan. Jet Chang was aggressive all throughout and was rewarded with a game-high 21 points, while Hung Chih-Shan and Douglas Creighton each netted a dozen markers. Star big man Tseng Wen-Ting contributed 11 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists in the losing effort.

Daiki Tanaka and the Japanese move
on to the semifinals against China.
(image from the JBA)

Consultant Ken Wagner isn't happy with
Taiwan failing to advance.
(image from Jumpball.co.kr)

The second game saw a blow out as host country South Korea mercilessly massacred Macau, 124-39. In a dominant start, Korea outscored Macau 34-1 in the first quarter, with up-and-coming big man Kim Jong-Kyu scoring 14 points in the period. He eventually wound up with 20 points in only 16 minutes of play. Swingman Heo Il-Young scored a game-high 29 points for Korea, hitting 7 treys in the process. SoKor also outrebounded Macau, 42-19, and forced 28 Macanese turnovers. Lai Kai Tong paced the losing side with 13 markers. This result gives the Koreans an outright berth in the Manila tourney, while booting out Macau from contention.

Kim Jong-Kyu was a tower of power
against the Macanese.
(image from Jumpball.co.kr)

In the third and last match, China completed an expected sweep of Group B after beating Mongolia, 109-45. The Chinese didn’t have the strongest of starts in this game, allowing their foes to stick close in the first frame, but they turned up the heat in the second quarter and just cruised to the lopsided win. Guo Ailun, whom I’m projecting as the back-up guard to Chen Jianghua when the Manila joust begins in August, led the way with 21 points, 3 assists, and 2 steals, while the twin-tower combo of Wang Zhelin and Li Muhao combined for 23 points and 24 rebounds. China shot 50% from long distance while grossly outrebounding Mongolia, 55-24. Ding Yanyuhang and Zhao Tailong both played well here, scoring 15 and 13 points respectively. Ding is a dark horse to be called up for Team A duties since guys like Yi Li and Sun Yue essentially play the same position, but Zhao might have a good chance of landing the back-up SG slot since he’ll only have to probably go up against Duan Jiangpeng and the veteran Han Shuo. Other off-guards like Meng Duo, Liu Xiaoyu, and Li Jingyu might be less ready for the NT and, besides, Zhao accounted really well for himself in the 2012 FIBA Asia Cup, where he led the team in scoring and was arguably the second-best player right behind Wang.

China will face Japan in the crossover semifinals, while Hong Kong, by virtue of finishing second in Group B, squares off against South Korea.

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