Yi Jianlian storms back to help China crush Bahrain
Updated: 2013-08-08 11:06
Yi Jianlian (11) of China jumps for a shot against Bahraini players at the 27th Asian Men's Basketball Championship in Manila, Philippines, Aug 7, 2013. [Photo/Xinhua]
MANILA - In the last day of the second stage at the 27th Asian Men's Basketball Championship, defending champions China bounced back from its awful 1-2 record in preliminary stage to win all three matches after their dominant 88-66 win over Bahrain here on Wednesday.
In the other group, Chinese Taipei was edged by Qatar to suffer its first loss in the tournament, which gave Philippines the chance to top the group.
After missing previous four matches, China's top player Yi Jianlian was back on court and took seven of his 12 points in the first quarter, in which China only conceded five points to Bahrain.
Yi didn't play in the second half but still took a second team-high 12 points, along with six rebounds.
"My injury is still hauling me but I feel good tonight," said the former NBA center. "Tomorrow will be an important day for the team to prepare for the knockout stage. The most important games are coming soon."
China enlarged the lead to 22 by halftime. Bahrain were able to bring down China's lead to 14 points, but two free throws from Chen Jianghua and a last minute tip-in from Wang Zhelin bumped the lead back up to 18 at 61-43 entering the final period.
Hussein Altawash scored back-to-back jumpers for Bahrain to cut the lead down to 16 but Wang Zhizhi and Chen Jianghua's triples secured China's big win.
China will play against Chinese Taipei in Friday's quarterfinals, against whom the defending champions kept an unbeaten record.
Chinese Taipei's unbeaten record was ended by Qatar, who bounced back from the loss to the Philippines, beating Chinese Taipei 71-68 in a bruising matchup.
After a 15-all first quarter, Qatar was able to slip ahead by a point following the second and third quarter, 29-28 and 49-48, respectively.
In the final period, Jarvis Hayes forged a game-high 12-point lead for Qatar but a late run from their foes cut the deficit to three with less than two minutes left.
Tian Lei's layup tied the score at 68-all, but Daoud Mosa Daoud put Qatar in lead again. Chinese Taipei could have forced overtime, but Tseng Wen-ting's attempt failed. Chinese Taipei suffered their first loss of the tournament.
After beating Hong Kong, China 67-55, the Philippines tied Qatar and Chinese Taipei with a 4-1 record but still got the top seed as they had more score differences among the three teams. The host will take on Kazakhstan on Friday, who was thrashed by Iran 85-53. Iran now is the only team stay unbeaten.
In Wednesday's other matches, Jordan beat Japan 65-56 to book the last berth in quarterfinals while South Korea defeated India 95-54.