Chinese Taipei, Qatar zoom to 3-0 like Iran


TWO days after torching Gilas Pilipinas with long-range bombs, Chinese Taipei sank Hong Kong using the same weapon, 94-55,  at the start of its second-round campaign in Group E of the 27th Fiba Asia Championship at Mall of Asia Arena.

Forward Lu Cheng-ju, who broke the hearts of Filipino fans with his deluge of three-pointers against Gilas, shot three triples like Taiwanese-American Douglas Creighton to extend Chinese Taipei’s unbeaten streak to four games.

The Taiwanese sustained their shooting spree by going 14 of 27 from behind the arc and 34 of 59 from the perimeter for an eye-popping 58-percent overall clip.

They posted the same shooting percentage when they slipped past the Filipinos, 84-79, in their first-round clash on Saturday.

Big and athletic Qatar earlier matched Taiwan’s 3-0 record in Group E after downing 2011 Fiba Asia runnerup Jordan, 75-61.

Naturalized forward Jarvis Hayes had 15 points and low -post workhorse Yasseen Musa added 14 for the Qataris, who fired successive three-pointers late in the third to break free from the gritty Jordanians.

A win over the Filipinos today will assure Qatar, the reigning Persian Gulf champions, a trouble-free trip to the quarterfinals.

“They’re (Gilas) going up against Japan (last night), so we’ll see,” said Qatar coach Tom Wisman. “Their quickness will give us some problems.”

Two-time champion Iran sustained its dominant form in Group F, pummeling India, 102-58, to remain on track to reclaiming the Asian crown, which China won in 2011.

Mahdi Kamrany suffered a swollen forehead after Rikin Pethani accidentally hit the crafty guard with his knee in a loose ball scramble.

Hamed Afagh had 16 points, including four three-pointers, while Samad Bahrami added 15 for the Iranians, who built a 29-point lead at the half.

The Jordanians plunged to 0-3 following consecutive defeats to Chinese Taipei and Gilas in the first round.

Over at Ninoy Aquino Stadium, Thailand scuttled Malaysia, 71-56, in a battle of eliminated teams. The Thais meet Saudi Arabia today for 13th place today. The Malaysians finished 15th.

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