TAKUMI Simon played the role of the hero for Guam, scoring the home team's last six points as it stunned Chinese Taipei, 77-72, in the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers Thursday at UOG Calvo Fieldhouse in Mangilao.
Guam vs Chinese Taipei recap
Playing without Jericho Cruz and Curtis Washington, it was Simon, the 21-year-old guard out of Santa Clara University, who stepped up to the plate as the Guamanians inched closer to clinching its first-ever stint in the continental showpiece.
Simon fired 18 points on 4-of-6 shooting from deep, including the big plays in the final minute as Guam held a precarious 71-70 lead.
He first made a pullup jumper that extended the lead to three, before he drained a big trey with 37 seconds left that made it a 76-72 affair with 37 seconds left.
Ray Chen tried to cut the deficit but missed a three, that led to a Simon split from the line to stretch the lead to five in the last 18 ticks.
Lin Wei-han, Lee Chi-wei, and Kevin Hu still had cracks late, but their long bombs could not find the bottom of the net.
Veteran Tai Wesley paced Guam with 23 points, nine rebounds, and three assists, as Jonathan Galloway had a double-double of 12 points and 16 boards in the win.
Guam can formally clinch the seat in the second game of this two-leg series with a win on Saturday. It can still advance as long as it won't lose by more than five points.
Chen carried the fight for Chinese Taipei with 24 points built on four triples, to go with four rebounds, three assists, and three steals, as Benson Lin added 22 points and five steals in the tough loss.
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