ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia (22nd FIBA Asia U18 Championship): Korea are the only team in the competition at the 22nd FIBA Asia U18 Championship who have come anywhere close to beating nine-time – and defending – gold medalists China. Can they go one better this time when the two traditional East Asian powerhouse and archrivals meet again in the gold medal game?
That’s the buzzing question that’s doing the rounds as a Sunday dawns to decide the latest champions of FIBA Asia competitions at the U18 level.
Asking the same question in reverse is as interesting. China are the only team to have beaten Korea, and after huffing and puffing their way to an Overtime win in the Group E Second Round round-robin. Do the youngsters from China have the wherewithal to repeat such a performance?
This is China’s 15th appearance in a FIBA Asia U18 Championship gold medal game and Korea’s ninth – and on a head-to-head this clash is the sixth between the two in a gold medal game.
China won on three occasions including the one at the 21st FIBA Asia Championship at Sana’A (Yemen) in the previous edition of this competition – 1992 Beijing and 2006 Urumqi being the others.
Korea too have won on three occasions – the only occasions they have won the gold – at Seoul in 1984, Manila in 1995 and Kuala Lumpur in 2000.
Therefore honors look even and an even-keeled contest is well on cards.
China go for a gold for an unprecedented 10th time and Korea for a resurgent fourth time.
Those at the imposing Buyant-Ukhaa are sure to get their money’s worth this time too!