China defeats Qatar for fifth place at FIBA Asian Championship

Updated: 2013-08-12 13:16


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MANILA - China ended their 27th Asian Men's Basketball Championship campaign with a 96-85 victory over Qatar on Sunday, finishing fifth.

The only chance for the former Asian Champion to play in next year's Basketball World Cup in Spain is a wildcard awarded by FIBA.

"We wanted to play the final so it's not good for us to play this match," said Panagiotis Giannakis, head coach of China. "But I think we learnt many things from this tournament. We have the opportunity to become stronger in the future."

A 13-0 run in the beginning of the second half helped China to enlarge their lead, which was only five points by halftime. The 15-time Asian Champion never let the match slip away from their hands from then on.

It was a tight game at the start of the first, with Wang Zhizhi building a three-point lead off a Yi Jianlian assist with six minutes and 20 seconds remaining, 9-6.

But Mohammed Saleem Abdullah and Mansour Elhadary then went on a 7-0 run for Qatar, building one-point lead after the first quarter.

Wang Zhizhi then anchored a 15-4 run to start the second period. Qatar responded with a 15-5 run to tie the game at 40-all.

Wang Shipeng and Zhu Fangyu had the last say in the second, giving China a 45-40 lead at the half.

Guo Ailun led China with 21 points and five assists. Veteran Wang Zhizhi finished his last Asian Championship game with a 13-point and 11-rebound double-double.

Yi Jianlian took 12 while Wang Shipeng and Zhufangyu combined for 24.

China suffered a shocking loss to Chinese Taipei in Friday's quarterfinals, leading them to their second worst result in Asian Championships.

"We need to summarize after returning back to China," said Yi. "Not only today's match. Not only this tournament. It's for a long time."

"During the tournament we didn't improve as I wanted," said Giannakis. "We lost our concentrations sometimes and we lost the chance to the final. But I think we will become smarter with more experiences."

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