Saudia Arabia, Chinese Taipei, Malaysia, and the Philippines all booked their places in the semi-finals of Division 2 at the 2019 Asia Oceania Championships today in Pattaya, Thailand.
The first men’s game on day four of the championships was a top of the table decider for Pool A, where Chinese Taipei and Saudi Arabia battled it out in an overtime thriller.
Saudi Arabia looked in control of the game winning the first three quarters – 15-11, 10-8, 10-9 – to lead 35-28, but Taipei had always kept within touching distance and a huge final quarter from the Taipei saw them extend their defence and bring the game back to just two points with four minutes to go. The tension seemed to get to both teams though as neither could convert for the remaining minutes, until a shooting foul from Saudi Arabia’s Fahad Bin Diran with 12 seconds left on the clock sent Ho-Cheng Teng to the line, and he held his nerve and slotted both free throws home to tie the game and force overtime, 40-40.
Both teams struggled to take their chances in overtime, but with Saudi Arabia looking like they’d opened up a safe four-point lead with only 17 seconds remaining, Chinese Taipei’s Chun-Yi Lu hit a three pointer to bring it back to one point. Ho-Cheng Teng then picked up his fifth foul, sending Mahdi Almakinah to the line. He missed his first but scored his second to give the Saudi’s a two point cushion. There was still time for one more offence, and hearts were in mouths when Chun Su managed to get off a three-point shot on the buzzer, but it didn’t drop, leaving Saudi Arabia to take the win, 46-44.
Chun-Yi Lu top scored for Chinese Taipei with 27 points, and Ho-Cheng Teng hit a double-double of 13 points and 14 rebounds. Essam Buayti top scored for Saudi Arabia with 16 points.
The Pool B match between Malaysia and Iraq was a must win for Iraq to have any chance of progressing to the Division 2 semi-finals, and another nailbiter ensued. The teams were neck and neck all through the first half as they drew both quarters 14-14 and 13-13.
The lead exchanged hands a number of times at the beginning of the third, until Malaysia took control and went on a 12-0 run, giving them a 43-36 advantage going into the final period. The momentum and confidence stuck with Malaysia as they went on to finish the game in style, winning 67-47, to finish top of Pool B.
Malaysia’s Muhamad Atib Zakaria had an influential game with a double-double of 30 points and 12 rebounds, and despite spending time on the bench due to his high foul count early on, Iraq’s Raad Al-Khafaji got himself a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Malaysia Head Coach, Ming Lip Lim, said, “We are very happy with the result, we came into the game as the underdogs as Iraq is a team with a lot of height so we weren’t sure we could match up but we did our best and got the win.
So far we have tried to do out best throughout the whole of this tournament and we’ve made the semi-final against Chinese Taipei, are next aim is to overcome them because last year in Jakarta at the Asian Para Games we lost to them so we know it will be difficult but we will go out there to win”
It was a slow start by both teams in the bottom of the table clash in Pool A between Afghanistan and Indonesia, with both teams turning the ball over and shooting at low percentages, as Afghanistan took an 8-5 lead in to the second quarter. They then started to find their shooting range and pressed Indonesia forcing them in to a number of 8 second calls to lead at half-time, 28-11. Afghanistan continued to score with regular ease in the final two quarters winning both, 18-4 and 17-6, to claim their first win of this year’s championships, 63-21.
Shahpoor Surkhabi hit 16 points for Afghanistan, whilst Kasep Ayatulloh top scored for Indonesia with 6 points.
With their spot in the Division 2 semi-finals already guaranteed due to Iraq’s loss to Malaysia, the Philippines took on a brave Indian team in Pool B. It was a straightforward victory for the Philippines, winning each quarter by scores of 18-3, 18-0, 12-2, and 22-8 to take the game, 70-13.
John Rey Escalante scored 14 points for the Philippines, with captain Juanito Mingarine getting 10 points. Varun Karkhanis top scored for India with 4 points.
The final four play tomorrow morning with the two winning teams then joining the Division 1 quarter-finals on Thursday 5th December. after playing a Division 2 final to decide the order in which they join the quarter-finals.
The remaining Division 2 teams will then play in classification games to decide their final rankings in the competition.
Division B semi-final line-ups:
Tuesday 3 December
10:30: Saudi Arabia v Philippines
11:00: Malaysia v Chinese Taipei
The championships, being hosted by the Sports Association for Wheelchair Basketball Thailand, will tell us which countries from the Asia Oceania Zone will qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Tomorrow is the first full day of action with 10 matches over two courts over the course of the day.
Photograph copyright – X1