02 - 08
April 2018
17 An-cheng Chang (TPE)
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FIBA U16 Asian Championship Quarter-Finals spots up for grabs

FOSHAN (FIBA U16 Asia Championship) - The knockout phase begins today at the FIBA U16 Asia Championship with spots in the Quarter-Finals up for grabs for the eight Play-Off teams.

Let's take a quick look at each Play-Off matchup and see how the different countries stack up.

Philippines v Hong Kong

Batang Gilas are hands down the favorites in this fixture, especially against a Hong Kong team that is lacking in both size and depth. Ballyhooed Philippines center Kai Sotto has yet to really produce a statement performance, and this may be his best chance to wow the fans watching him from the homeland. His 7ft 1in (2.16m) frame surely has no equal on Hong Kong's roster, so he is expected to be a dominant force for the Filipinos. Still, it has been fluid offense that has eluded the Philippines, and coach Mike Oliver is hoping to see better execution here. As for the Hong Kongers, the odds are stacked significantly against them, but if they suddenly hit a bevy of threes and manage to contain the Filipino frontline, then this could be closer than expected.

Chinese Taipei v Lebanon

This may just be the most hotly contested affair of the day. The Taipei quintet had a very good chance to take a Quarter-Finals seat at Iran's expense, but they ran out of steam late in the fourth period. They cannot afford to do that again here against a Lebanon team that may not be as big as Iran, but they are also quite explosive. The duel between two of the tournament's best scorers - Chen Chiang-Shuang of Taipei and Rayan Zanbaka of Lebanon - is sure to be entertaining, and it feels like whoever will score more should help his side move a step closer to an U17 World Cup berth.

New Zealand v Malaysia

The Junior Tall Blacks were ambushed by a determined and physical Chinese squad yesterday, and they are definitely looking to bounce back in a big way against SEABA side Malaysia. The Malaysians have actually displayed some promise, pushing the Philippines to the brink and showing some flashes of brilliance against Australia, but can they will have to play well wire-to-wire against New Zealand. The winner gets the prize of facing a strong Iranian team in the Quarter-Finals tomorrow.

Korea v Macau

The Koreans were on the wrong end of a heartbreaker against Japan last night in what was one of the tournament's best games so far. Now they will try to redeem themselves as they take on Macau, who were overmatched in their first two fixtures against Chinese Taipei and Iran. The Macanese certainly are not the favorites in this match, but if they catch the Koreans running lethargic because of yesterday's defeat, then perhaps they could make a game of this. By all intents and purposes, though, Korea shouldn't have much trouble in this encounter.