CHINESE Taipei kept its record unblemished with a 79-76 decision over Japan on Tuesday in the Fiba-Asia Championship at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Tseng Wen-Ting and Lin Chih-Chieh paced the Taiwanese to victory, hitting crucial baskets to foil Japan’s upset bid and secure a berth in the quarterfinals.
The Taiwanese improved their record to 4-0 in the second round and will face Qatar in its final match in the second round.
Japan led by as many as nine points but Chinese Taipei regained control, hitting six unanswered points for a 61-59 cushion entering the fourth.
The Japanese absorbed their second straight defeat for a 1-3 win-loss record, and will play a do-or-die match for a quarterfinal seat on Wednesday against Jordan.
“Japan had good defense and we committed turnovers. But I told the players to be more confident,” said Chinese Taipei head coach Chin-Che Hsu.
Tseng, who hit a huge triple that helped propel Chinese Taipei over the Philippines in the first round, had a game-high 19 points including a three-pointer that padded its lead to 74-69.
Lin also converted a three-point play with 44.9 seconds left, increasing Japan’s lead to 77-73 before Tseng hit the game-clinching free throws on the next offensive play.
Lin ended up with 16 points.
“It was a close game but we didn’t have enough to overcome the deficit,” said Japan coach Kimikazu Suzuki.
Chinese Taipei (79) – Tseng 19, Lin 16, Tien 10, Chen 10, Davis 8, Tsai 7, Lui 6, Yang 3, Lee 0, Hung 0, Chou 0, Crieghton 0.
Japan (76) – Takeuchi 17, Kanamaru 14, Sakurai 13, Sakuragi 10, Tanaka 8, Tsuji 6, Kurihara 5, Ota 2, Ichioka 1, Hiejima 0.
Quarterscores: 22-25; 44-41; 61-59; 79-76.