CHINESE Taipei coach Hsu Chin-Che admitted that losing the final and most crucial game of the second round was painful, but noted that they need to quickly move on and gear up for a quarterfinal showdown with title holder China in the Fiba Asia Championship.
The Taiwanese made one huge run in the final three minutes of the game but fell short in the end and allowed Qatar to escape with a 71-68 win at the Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday, denying Chinese Taipei the no. 1 seeding in Group E at the end of group stage plays.
“We wanted to win and top Group E but they (Qatari) played great defense and controlled the rebounds, that killed us,” said Hsu after his team absorbed its first loss of the tournament.
Should Gilas Pilipinas win over Hong Kong in their match on Wednesday night, the Filipinos will end up in a three-way tie at 4-1 with the Taiwanese and Qataris at 4-1.
But Gilas will get the No. 1 seeding in Group E, Qatar will grab the No. 2 spot, while Chinese Taipei would drop to No. 3.
“When we were down by 12 points in the fourth quarter, we could have just surrendered and just choose playing against the Koreans. But we did not give up because we wanted to finish No. 1 in our group. We just fell short,” added the Chinese Taipei national coach.
The loss puts the Taiwanese in a direct collision with the dreaded Chinese in the quarterfinals on Friday, a situation that Hsu said they will just have to accept.
“That (situation of facing China) can’t change so we will just play our game and try to play better defense,” said Hsu.
Chinese Taipei hopes to improve on its eighth place finish in the 2011 Fiba-Asia showpiece in Wuhan, China.
Yi Jian Lian and more likely, starting point guard Liu Xiaoyu will play in the quarterfinals against the Taiwanese in the knockout stage.