Game Photos. Game Details and Stats
TOKYO, Japan (4th FIBA Asia Cup): Philippines blew away a fantastic third quarter resurgence allowing China to hit back and sneak through to a 71-68 win in a pivotal Group A Prelim Round game at the 4th FIBA Asia Cup on Friday.
Having fought China on even keel for a better part of the three quarters of the game, Philippines unleashed a 20-7 fury over 10 minutes – across the third quarter break to seemingly nudge ahead towards an opening game win.
But China gambled by bringing the prodigious Wang Zhelin back – despite the youngster in foul-trouble – and reaped rich dividends by eking out the win. Wang, arguably one of the more talented youngsters in view was superb and solid under the defense glass and pulled down 8 of his game-high 14 rebounds in the final quarter to propel China forward.
For the record, China outscored their rivals 12-4 in the final five minutes of the game.
Guo Ailun (pic above) , the most experienced member in this China roster – having played on almost every Chinese National Team across age-groups in the last three years – was surprisingly left out of the starting five, but was as fluent as ever when on court.
Guo Ailun, who played braving a nagging cold and niggling ankle, led scorers with 18 points.
Where China flourished, Philippines floundered.
Ranidel De Ocampo, the highest scoring Filipino had all his 11 points in the first three quarters and their naturalized center Marcus Douthit had all his 8 rebounds and 7 of the 10 points in the first three quarters.
“Well, against a team as strong and tall as China you can’t win missing crucial free-throws,” rued Philippines coach Chot Reyes.
“It was tough. And we didn’t expect anything easier,” the multiple PBA title winner added.
“But given that this team has been together for not more than a month, I guess we have done well. And let’s not forget this is yet only the opening game,” Reyes said.
“They were indeed a tough team. I think this was an excellent game on the opening day of such an important competition,” said China coach Fan Bin.
“We have come with a young team. And we are here to learn. We take anything that comes here as a welcome learning experience. A win is certainly a bonus,” he added.