Chinese Taipei and Philippines eye FIBA Asia Championship semifinal
A trip to the FIBA Asia Championship semifinal awaits the winner of the game between Chinese Taipei and the Philippines on Friday.
Both teams have never got past the quarterfinals in recent tournaments and are out to make history. Chinese Taipei last made it to the medal round in 1999. The island-nation has never won the FIBA Asia tournament, finishing runner-up to the
Philippines in the first two editions of the meet in 1960 and 1963 when it was still known as Formosa.
The Filipinos, meanwhile, last made it to the Final Four in 1987. The five-time Asian champions last won this tournament in 1985.
Chinese Taipei placed third in Group E after beating Lebanon (60-58) and Malaysia (109-62) and losing to South Korea (61-82).
Chinese Taipei head coach Chou Chuan-san is anticipating a thrilling encounter against the Philippines.
"In fact even for today's game we had a similar preparation. They (Philippines) also play similar styles," he said after their last game against the Malaysians.
The Philippines, meanwhile, is on a roll. The Southeast Asian powerhouse swept all its matches in the second round to finish second behind China, which beat them in the preliminary stage. Led by naturalized center Marcus Douthit, Marcio Lassiter and Jimmy Alapag, the Filipinos posted wins over Jordan (72-64), Japan (83-76) and Syria (75-52). The Filipinos actually struggled in the early stages of all three games but rallied back to secure the wins.
Philippines head coach Rajko Toroman is also expecting a tough game against the Taiwanese.
"Chinese Taipei is like Japan, having good shooters in its lineup. We're able to stop Japan's shooters and I think we can do the same against Chinese Taipei," the Serbian said.
"If they can shoot the ball very well, then we'll have a problem. But we've been playing good defense, and that's the reason why I'm optimistic."
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