Following historic win, Chen Chia Shan Pan adds more hope to Chinese Taipei's future
AMMAN (Jordan) - Chinese Taipei have plenty of reasons to feel optimistic about their future with the string of successes put together by the women's youth basketball teams.
It could be remembered that the U18 squad shocked the FIBA U18 Women's Asian Championship just last year when they beat China for the first time in two decades, eventually reaching the Semi-Finals to seal their place in the FIBA U19 Women's Basketball World Cup.
Now, 10 months after that feat, the U16 team made sure to have their very own moment in the ongoing FIBA U16 Women's Asian Championship 2023-Division A.
This batch accomplished what some of their predecessors weren't able to do: beat Korea.
They did so by eking out a thrilling 85-81 decision on Tuesday, ending Chinese Taipei's 14-game losing skid against the Koreans in women's youth competitions. It was their first win against its long-time tormentors in the U16 level since 2009 - yes, in the inaugurals.
Chen Chia Shan Pan was all aware of that history. Thus, the immense pride on her part to have helped author a chapter of their long , storied battle with her side victorious this time.
"It has always been difficult for the Chinese Taipei team to defeat the South Korean team," she offered. "Today's victory feels very honorable. We were all giving our all and trying every means possible to win this game and put an end to the 14-game losing streak."
Pan herself was a major reason behind the historic win. She finished with 24 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists plus 3 steals, doing everything she can most especially in crunch time that saw her deliver big plays to help orchestrate the stunner versus the one-time U16 silver medalists.
"I feel it's because of my coach and teammates," she said of her performance.
"They give me great encouragement. If I make a good play, they will acknowledge it. If I make a mistake, they will say 'keep going.' feel like they are pushing me from behind, and I want to work hard and give my best while carrying their expectations," added 15-year-old.
Pan is now Chinese Taipei's leading scorer of Taipei. After Tuesday, the 1.72 M (5'8") floor general is averaging a tournament fifth-best 20.0 points on a 45.7-percent clip from the field, along with 5.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists, and 5.0 steals - tied for third-best in the tilt.
All that serves as further proof why head coach Hsiu Mien Hsu brought her in. "I was her basketball coach during her junior high school years," he said. "In the highest level of Taiwan's JHBL competition, she was voted as the MVP of the championship finals for her all-around performance."
"During her junior high school years, I trained her to have the ability to play positions from 1 to 5. Selecting her for the team was indeed because she is a versatile and impactful player," the veteran mentor added of the cager from Taipei First Girls High School.
Thanks to her, Chinese Taipei are now 2-0 in Group A. But Pan and her batch wants more. They want to reach the Semi-Finals, which also means earning a ticket to the prestigious FIBA U17 Women's Basketball World Cup - something that the program hasn't done. Ever.
Or even farther than that.
"Reaching the top four is our goal, and I also believe that if we can improve our defense, reduce offensive mistakes, and use speed to our advantage, I am confident that we will have a chance to achieve our goal, and even advance to the Finals," she said.