Mongolia vs. Hong Kong
The 5/6 game is interesting only because it matched up the two teams who really had no chance in this tournament. While the results from earlier in the week would have suggested the Mongolian squad was more competitive, the Hong Kong squad showed that they do have some talent (something a -148 point differential for the first two games did not imply). Going into the half Mongolia was up by 2 points, but Hong Kong came out hot in the third and went up by ten. In the end Hong Kong was able to hold on for the 87-83 victory.
Taiwan started the game slowly for the third time in three games. Unfortunately for them the South Koreans are a veteran squad and knew how to hold on to the lead. South Korea ended the game on top with a 69-61 victory. For Taiwan, Yulon’s Lu Cheng-ju was the high point man with 15 points.
China vs. Japan
Does beating China’s B team really matter? The feeling among fans and followers of Asian basketball is that the Chinese obviously cared very little about the result of the tournament, as they are assured a spot in the September tournament, and have home court advantage no matter what. Japan played a great game, and were able to make the Chinese turn the ball over much more than they usually do. In a somewhat surprising ending the Japanese came out on top with a 72-62 win.
China vs. Taiwan
While China may have cared very little about the outcome of the previous game, any match between these two political foes will lead to a passionate game and a full effort from both squads. Chinese guard Meng Duo ended up being the difference maker in this game as his lights out shooting in the 3rd sparked a devastating 30-11 third quarter. The Taiwanese squad were unable to mount a comeback and the scored ended up a lopsided 87-53. Both teams are missing key players, but it looks like when the Chinese players are out to win they are going to be extremely difficult to beat.
South Korea vs. Japan
Old rivals Japan and South Korea met for the gold, and the right for top seed coming out of the East Asia region. It was a game of runs as South Korea stormed ahead to a double digit lead in the first quarter, only to let Japan come right back with a big second period. Korea finally blew open the game in the final period, finishing with an 89-73 victory for the gold.
Next up for all you Asia basketball fans is the SEABA Championship next week in Jakarta. Three more teams will ultimately gain entrance to the September tournament in China.