The final day of competition at the Central & East Asia Qualifying Tournament in Bangkok, Thailand began with the women’s playoff for 5th/6th between India and Laos. In a low scoring defensive game, both sides struggled to find offensive opportunities. After an even first half, it was Laos who were able to break the deadlock in the second half to win 12-7. Bounmy Somthala top scorer with 8 points was the difference for Laos.

In the first of the medal games, Malaysia men were pitted against Chinese Taipei for bronze. Both teams had shown good form during the week, but inconsistency had been their downfall. With only 2 points separating them at halftime the game was looking like going to the wire. However, Malaysia with won the third quarter 17-5 to open up the game. Despite a last period, fight-back Chinese Taipei were unable to get closer than five and eventually went down by that margin, 49-44. Muhammad Atib Zakaria (16) and Yei Bing Freday Tan (10) again led the way for Malaysia while for Chinese Taipei Lu Chun-Yi top-scored for the game with 21 points.

The women’s bronze medal game saw Afghanistan matched up against Cambodia. In a solid four-quarter performance, Afghanistan height and strength proved too much for the smaller Cambodian women, keeping Cambodian captain An Sinet to only 2 points, her lowest return for the week and winning the game 46-28. For the winners, Somaya Noori (14) and Shabana Akbari (12) led the scoring.

The women’s Gold medal game saw unbeaten Iran and hosts Thailand on court. With a noisy crowd behind them, Thailand jumped to an early four-point lead, but Iran settled and held a 2 point lead at the end of the first period. Iran’s pressed hard in the second and third period causing Thailand to struggle offensively. A 15 point lead at the final break was enough for Iran to relax a little and allow Thailand to run some offensive strategies, but they still went on to a comfortable win 43-27 and take home the gold medal. For Iran Mahsa Saadatzeinadanloo was dominant throughout with 20 points, ably supported by captain Fattaneh Pourat (12). Thailand’s leading scorer for the week, Natnapa Ponin was kept quiet, but also missed most of the third period due to an injury. Tananya Keawmak and Pawarati Jala with 8 points each tried to take up the slack but it wasn’t enough on the day.

The men’s gold medal game again featured the hosts Thailand, this time against China. Both teams came into the final unbeaten and it promised to be a close affair. The first period was basket for basket, and a score on the buzzer saw Thailand edge it by two. In the second period China’s power forward Lin Yinhai proved a handful making 14 points for the quarter and helping to a five-point lead at the long break. Thailand came out strong in the third quarter and on the back of some good shooting from Kwanchai Pimkorn took back the lead mid-way through the period, but it was China who finished the stronger of the two and with a three pointer on the third quarter time buzzer took a 46-41 lead into the final interval. In a tense fourth quarter Thailand thanks to some quality outside shooting from Aekkasit Jumjarean again went ahead with just three minutes remaining on the clock. The lead then exchanged hand until with just 30 seconds to play Li Yiquan hit converted two from the line to give China a two-point lead. A final three-point attempt from Kwanchai Pimkorn on the buzzer didn’t drop and China held on to win. Final score 57-54. Lin Yinhai had a game high of 25 points supported well by Deng Jianchun with 18, while for Thailand Aekkasit Jumjarean (16) Pongsakorn Sripirom (15) and Kwanchai Pimkorn (15) shared the scoring.

Final Placings:

Men: China (Q), Thailand (Q), Malaysia (Q), Chinese Taipei (Q), Hong Kong, Afghanistan, India, Indonesia

Women: Iran (Q), Thailand (Q), Afghanistan (Q), Cambodia(Q), Laos, India

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