22 - 31
July 2016
8 Harouna Sissoko (MLI), 10 Kassim Diallo (MLI), 32 Pei-Chia Wu (TPE)
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Chinese Taipei's Wu learns lessons from battles with world's best

TAIPEI CITY (2016 FIBA Asia U18 Championship) - The old adage goes: You improve by playing against better competition. If that is true, then Chinese Taipei fans can expect a much improved Wu Pei-Chia at the 2016 FIBA Asia U18 Championship.

While Chinese Taipei finished in 14th place with one victory over Mali in seven games at the 2016 FIBA U17 World Championship, the 2.05m center Wu faced his share of talented big man in Zaragoza.

Wu went up against the United States trio of Wendell Carter Jr., Carter’Are Gordon and Austin Wiley in Chinese Taipei's first game. The Taichung City native then faced Egyptian talent Ahmed Khalaf and finished the Group Phase against Turkey's Ahmet Can Duran and Raqip Berke Atar. Wu also had to battle Spain's Osas Ehigiator before watching Bosnia and Herzegovina guard Dzanan Musa wizz around to the tune of a U17 Worlds record 50 points. Mali meanwhile had five players 2.02m or taller before Wu finally had a bit of break against Argentina as their top talent Francisco Caffaro did not play.

"They are all great teams. Honestly I was kind of afraid of them," Wu admitted at the 2016 FIBA U17 World Championship. "But I just kept telling myself, don't think too much and just do what I can do on the court."

Wu ended up collecting 4.1 points, 3.0 rebounds and 0.7 rebounds in Zaragoza and will be in Tehran with the U18 Chinese Taipei. 

Wu Pei-Chia is an important big man for Chinese Taipei in Tehran.

"Defensively, I learned that I really need to box out and get rebounds," Wu said. "Offensively, I learned I need to use more moves and fakes to avoid the shot-blockers in order to score."

All that experience will be a big benefit at the FIBA Asia U18s, where Wu will be needed on the Chinese Taipei team because of his good size. 

"It was a very good experience for me in my life. It's like a (baseball) grand slam in my youth basketball life," Wu said. "The experience will definitely help me to help the team at U18s." 

Chinese Taipei will square off against China, Philippines, India, Iraq and Thailand in Group A in Tehran. 

When asked about the team's expectations going into the U18 tournament, Wu said confidently: "We expect a third place so that we can play at the U19 Worlds."

The three podium spots will secure tickets to the 2017 FIBA U19 World Championship in Cairo. Chinese Taipei have only made two appearances at the global competition with the Asians finishing 11th of 12 teams in 1987 and 14th of 16 nations in 2011.

Chinese Taipei only have two second place finishes at the FIBA Asia U18 Championship - in 1972 (as Taiwan) and 1989, and they took the third spot in 1974 (as Taiwan), 1986, 2000 and 2010. 

"We know a third place finish will be difficult. But we have the confidence that we can do it," Wu said. 

The big man's experience in Zaragoza against some of the world's best centers will definitely be a helping hand.