S Korea beats defending champion China at Asia Championship

Updated: 2013-08-01 21:56


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MANILA - Defending champion China found their archrival South Korea too difficult to beat and unfortunately lost their opening match 59-63 at the 27th Asian Men's Basketball Championship here on Thursday.

Panagiotis Giannakis' side only let the South Koreans take 63 points but their offense became their own biggest problem. Former NBA player Yi Jianlian led China with 23 points but was the only Chinese player to reach double figures.

Kim Joo-Sung became the biggest hero for South Korea's victory as he took 15 points. He put a layup and drew a foul from China. His 2+1 performance helped South Korea to tie at 55-55. Chou Sung- Min then made four freethrows and enlarged the lead to four points.

Liu Xiaoyu then got a basket and a foul, but he missed his bonus charity which gave Yang Dong-Geun opportunity to secure the victory for South Korea.

Chinese shooters had an extremely poor performance as they tried 14 three-pointers but made none of them. They also lost 20 freethrows.

"We had a good defense tonight but my players missed too many layups and too many easy baskets," Giannakis said after the match.

"I don't think our shooters have problems. They were just a little bit panic and it's normal for the first match of a tournament."

Chin's veteran Wang Zhizhi only played three minutes but made two shots before he was replaced and never came back to the court.

"The type of this match is quite different from Wang's type. We want to put players on the court same to the type," Giannakis explained. "For another reason, we have to look longer than today' s match."

Yi Jianlian and young star Wang Zhelin took ten rebounds separately to help China outrebound South Korea 34-25 but Yi's injury still hauled him.

"I still can't run with my full speed. It's very sorry that I can't perform my best to help the team," said Yi. "We knew it would be a tough match. We didn't shoot very well today and I hope we'll get better in future."

It's the first time for South Korea to beat their East Asian neighbor in Asian Championships since 1997.

"We were aware that Chinese players are quite taller than us. So we practiced a lot to prepare for the match," said South Korean coach Yoo Jae-Hak. "We overcame the disadvantage in heights and we will try to do better in tomorrow's match against Iran as Iran is also a taller team."

Iran beat Malaysia 115-25 in an earlier match to top Group C. China will play Malaysia on Friday for their first win.