asia

China edge Japan for 3rd straight win in Asia Cup qualifiers


Zhao Jiwei (#4) of China tries to penetrate in the FIBA Asia Cup qualifer game against Japan in the Philippines, June 19, 2021. /CFP

Zhao Jiwei (#4) of China tries to penetrate in the FIBA Asia Cup qualifer game against Japan in the Philippines, June 19, 2021. /CFP

China defeated Japan 90-84 in their third game in the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers on Saturday, pocketing the third consecutive win in the tournament.

Zhou Qi, who came back from an eye problem, had a double-double of 18 points and 12 rebounds plus two blocks for China. He and Zhao Jiwei joined hands to drive a 15-1 run in the last quarter, helping China achieve a comeback victory.

This was the second game between China and Japan in four days. China beat Japan 66-57 last time on Wednesday.

Zhou Peng (#10) of China holds the ball in the FIBA Asia Cup quailifer game against Japan in the Philippines, June 19, 2021. /CFP

Zhou Peng (#10) of China holds the ball in the FIBA Asia Cup quailifer game against Japan in the Philippines, June 19, 2021. /CFP

Saturday’s game did not start in China’s favor. Their wingman Zhou Peng was called for four fouls in less than five minutes in the first quarter. Meanwhile, Japan’s shooters were boiling hot from the arc, draining 10 3-points in the first half. Though China had advantage under the rim, they still trailed 45-41 after the second quarter.

China continued to charge Japan’s rim hard in the third quarter. Shen Zijie, who quit the team’s last game with Chinese Taipei, scored seven points while Zhang Zhenlin found touch in the middle range to claim six points. If it weren’t for Zhao Jiwei’s foul at the 3-point line that gave Japan three free throws, China could have cut the deficit down to one point after the third quarter.

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Zhou Qi (#15) of China dunks in the FIBA Asia Cup qualifier game against the Japan in the Philippines, June 19, 2021. /CFP

Zhou Qi (#15) of China dunks in the FIBA Asia Cup qualifier game against the Japan in the Philippines, June 19, 2021. /CFP

China’s coach Du Feng decided to put on a zone defense in the last quarter which began to slow Japan down offensively. Meanwhile, Zhao Jiwei earned and made five free throws while assisting Zhou Qi to make consecutive dunks. The 15-1 run in the last six minutes sealed the deal for China.

“First I want to thank all of my players who have been working hard today. We have a lot of young faces in the national team and they are all improving,” said Du Feng.

Du also praised the performance of Zhou Qi, who came to the Philippines right after undergoing eye surgery, and Shen Zijie, who is still carrying a hip injury on the court.

China’s last game is against Chinese Taipei on Sunday.



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