KOREA ended its 16-year wait for a return to the world championship, defeating Chinese Taipei, 75-57, in the battle for third place in the Fiba-Asia Championship on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Koreans took the third and final seat for Asia in the 2014 Fiba World Cup, using an early first-quarter surge to create distance from the Taiwanese.
Korea is returning to the world basketball meet for the first time since seeing action in the 1998 Fiba World Championships in Athens.
Relegated to the bronze-medal match following its loss to the Philippines on Saturday, Korea jumped out to a 29-13 first-quarter lead and never let up.
“We were playing with a lot of pressure in the last two games. But we had the passion to go to Spain,” said Korea coach Jae Hak Yoo through an interpreter.
Rising star Kim Mingoo led the Koreans with 21 points and matched his three-point output against the Philippines, hitting five from beyond the arc. Kim Joo Sung had 12 points and eight rebounds, while Cho Sung Min chipped in 11 markers.
It was a tough defeat for Chinese Taipei, which went undefeated in the preliminaries and even beat defending champion China in the quarterfinal to make headlines in their home country.
Chinese-Taipei, though, was but a shadow of its old self, hitting only 36 percent from the field and trailing by as many as 24 points against Korea.
Korea (75) – Kim Mingoo 21, Kim Joo Sung 12, Cho Sung Min 11, Yang Dong Geun 9, Yoon Ho Young 9, Kim Tae Sool 7, Kim Jong Kyu 4, Lee Jong Hyun 2, Lee Seung Jun 0.
Chinese Taipei (57) – Lu 13, Davis 12, Tien 8, Tseng 7, Chen 6, Hung 6, Tsai 3, Yang 2, Lin 0.
Quarterscores: 29-13; 50-29; 61-44; 75-57.