Taiwan toasts its ‘hero’ cagers
CHINESE Taipei is toasting its national basketball players back home even if they still have two games left in the 27th Fiba Asia Championship.
Taiwanese reporters covering the 15-nation event that will reward three Asian spots to next year’s World Championship in Spain confirmed this after a 96-78 quarterfinal win over defending champion China made the front pages of their respective publications.
“They are all heroes back home,” a lady reporter said. “We are all very happy because this is the first time that we beat China.”
China considers Taiwan a renegade province. Nationalist (Kuomintang) forces fled to the island after their defeat to the Communists in the Chinese civil war that ended in 1950.
The win was the first over a Chinese A-team in the history of Taiwan.
“Chinese Taipei beats China’s first team first time,” was how one veteran reporter translated the headline of his story in a Taipei daily.
“All four major newspapers back home made the win their top story,” Chen Chih-hung, the reporter for one of those publications, the Youth Daily News, said.
“We made history, and the people back home know it.”
Even television stations in Taipei had the victory as the No. 1 story, according to another female journalist, Peng Wei-ni.
The Taiwanese were still playing mighty Iran and NBA veteran Hamed Hadadi at presstime and a victory could trigger an even bigger celebration since Chinese Taipei would then get a shot at its first Fiba Asia crown.
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