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Looking back at Lin Chih-Chieh's 'beastly' performances at FIBA Asia Cup
Taipei (Chinese Taipei) - Lin Chih-Chieh’s professional career with the Zhejiang Guangsha Lions in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) looked like it had come to a close after the team was knocked out of the quarter-finals of the playoffs. An emotional tribute from the club seemed to mark the ending of a glorious 10-year run for the Chinese-Taipei star who showcased his skills in the Chinese league.
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(Lin amassed 5,000 points in his CBA career)
In the FIBA Asia Cup, Lin has had an ever longer and illustrious journey starring for the Chinese-Taipei national team. After making his Asia Cup debut in 2003, Lin has been one of the best players the tournament has ever seen. Let’s take a look back at some of his accomplishments with the national team.
Unleash the Beast
A player does not just get a cool nickname like “The Beast” for nothing. Lin Chih-Chieh has always been among one of the best scorers in Asia with a career average of 10.0 points per game over 6 tournaments and 46 games.
The 1.92M (6’4”) had good size for his position at the wing and exceptional athleticism, making him a ferocious finisher for Chinese-Taipei. Even later in his career as the bounce slightly faded away, Lin still had crafty footwork to make his way to the hoop. Whether it was a whirling dervish of a spin move or dragging Eurostep, Lin found a way to get to the rim. He loved to draw contact and would earn a good chunk of his points from the charity stripe.
The Near Triple-Double
Arguably one of Lin’s best games ever at the FIBA Asia Cup was in 2013. Facing host nation Philippines, the Chinese-Taipei star erupted for a career-high 12 assists and feel just short of a triple-double with 20 points and 9 rebounds. More importantly, his performance helped Chinese-Taipei secure an important win over the Philippines, 84-79 in the Group Stages.
Lin was a menace throughout the entire game, especially in transition. He was able to grab the defensive rebound, starting the fastbreak by himself and once he got on offense, he would either find a way to finish or find the right guy at the right place.
The Philippines had beaten Lin and Chinese-Taipei in previous 2011 and 2009 editions of the Asia Cup and the explosive outing in 2013 was, in a way, getting some payback.
The entire 2013 Asia Cup actually
The 20-9-12 line from Lin against the Philippines in 2013 was certainly memorable, but Lin’s performance throughout the entire tournament that year was one for the ages.
Right off the bat in the very first game, Lin put himself on notice by scoring a career-high 27 points on Jordan in a narrow 91-87 win. Chinese-Taipei rattled off 5 consecutive wins before a loss to Qatar which set them up against an unfavorable matchup against China in the quarter-finals.
Despite going up against the likes of the defending champions armed with stars Yi Jianlian and Wang Zhizhi, an upset was completed with Chinese-Taipei securing the 96-78 win. Lin put in 17 points and 7 rebounds in the historic win.
Chinese-Taipei eventually lost to Iran in the semi-finals and missed out a FIBA World Cup 2014 berth in the final loss to Korea, but it was a 4th placed finish nonetheless. It was the furthest Chinese-Taipei had gone in the FIBA Asia Cup since 1999 and the highest finish ever for Lin with the national team. Lin finished the tournament with averages of 10.7 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 4.9 assists which was enough to bag him the honors as the best small forward of the competition.
End of the road… ?
In 2017, Lin Chih-Chieh did not play in the FIBA Asia Cup which was the first Asia Cup he missed since 2005. Already at 36 years old, it was expected that the Chinese-Taipei legend has already retired from national team play. Though he was named to the national team pool for the first window, Lin never suited up for the national team at the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers. Currently, “The Beast” has 462 points in the FIBA Asia Cup since 2003 along with 162 rebounds and 100 assists since 2007 (when those stats were officially counted).
Meanwhile, his play in the CBA suggests that he might still be able to contribute to the national team. During the CBA quarter-finals, Lin Chih-Chieh almost single-handedly willed Guangsha to the next round with an average of 18.3 points in the last three games while shooting 12-21 from downtown.
Do you think Lin Chih-Chieh still has another national team run left in his tank?