SANA’A, Yemen (21st FIBA Asia U18 Championship): Chinese Taipei did nothing spectacular, but neither did they do anything silly and staved off a late Iran rally to win the bronze medal play-off 64-60 on Friday.
Roman Huang’s boys thus ended a ten-year drought on the medals podium, along with earning Taipei the third ticket available to represent FIBA Asia at the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship to be held in Latvia.
China and Korea – Taipei’s fellow East Asian teams – who play the gold medal game later today – have already qualified for the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship.
Taipei had last won a medal – also a bronze – at the Kuala Lumpur edition in 2000, where incidentally Huang was the assistant coach.
Taipei’s previous appearance in the FIBA U19 World Championship came 23 years ago, when they played in the third edition at Bormio (Italy) in 1987.
Taipei, ironically, had opened the competition losing to Iran in Overtime in the very first game here.
“We have improved a lot, haven’t we?” chuckled Huang.
Iran did well to negate the early lead Taipei had taken. And when Taipei threatened to run away with the game at the end of the third quarter, Iran fought back gallantly.
Midway through the second quarter the teams were tied at 23, which raised hopes of another thriller.
An interesting battle of wits it turned out to be, even if not a thriller.
Taipei launched an all-round attack and outscored Iran 14-5 – albeit in a more defensive quarter.
Hung Kang-chiao who scored five in that quarter, went on to lead Taipei’s scoring 1ith 18 points.
Down 35-48 at the end of the third quarter, Iran staged a superb and strong rally in the fourth.
Siamak Torabhikhah scored 10 of his team-high 13 in the fourth quarter, but there were too many misses to Iran’s comfort.
Iran’s highest scoring rate came at the end of the fourth, but that it was at a mere 30% told the story of Iran’s woes in offense.
“We missed too many shots,” lamented Iran coach Mohsen Sadegh Zadeh.
Iran converted a mere 18 of their 53 attempts in short range and only six of their 27 attempts in three-pointers.
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