Malaysia and Saudi Arabia will be the two teams joining the Division 1 quarter-finals on Friday 5th December at the 2019 Asia Oceania Championships in Pattaya, Thailand, after they both won their Division 2 semi-finals and secured themselves a spot in the Division 2 final tomorrow.
In the opening game of Day 5 at the championships, Saudi Arabia and the Philippines went basket for basket in the first quarter as the Philippines edged it by just two points, 14-12.
A quarter-time talking to for the Saudi Arabians saw them come out more aggressive and kept the Philippines scoreless in the second quarter, winning it 13-0 and taking an eleven-point advantage into the break, 25-14.
However, the Philippines did not give up the fight, coming back to win the third quarter 15-12, meaning Saudi Arabia went into the final period eight points up, 37-29. The Philippines chased the game but couldn’t claw back the deficit eventually going down 50-38.
The Philippines’ John Rey Escalante and Saudi Arabia’s Essam Buayti joint top scored with 15 points apiece.
In a more one-sided affair, Malaysia became the second team to secure their place in the Division 2 final over Chinese Taipei, and as a result the Division 1 quarter-finals.
Buoyed by their win yesterday against Iraq, Malaysia came out firing in the opening quarter and took an early 19-6 lead. Scoring was slow in the second quarter with both teams only scoring two points each in the first five minutes, as Chinese Taipei tightened up their defence to try to restrict their opponents’ scoring. Malaysia took a 29-12 advantage into the break.
The Malaysian defence was strong throughout and forced Chinese Taipei into a host of perimeter shots. The shooting percentages told the story of the game with Malaysia shooting at 52% and Chinese Taipei at only 14%. Malaysia continued to build on their lead, winning the third and fourth, 22-6 and 19-2, to take home a comprehensive victory, 70-20, and set up a Division 2 Final against Saudi Arabia.
Malaysia’s Muhamad Atib Zakaria led all scorers making a double-double of 21 points and 13 rebounds, whilst Chun Su top scored for Chinese Taipei with 6 points.
Malaysia will now play Saudia Arabia in the Division 2 final on Wednesday 4th December at 10.30am (local time).
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