Preview: Final Call for either Guam or Chinese Taipei
MANGILAO (Guam) - The last qualifying spot for FIBA Asia Cup 2021. That’s what will be up for grabs in Mangilao, Guam.
It will be a battle between Guam and Chinese Taipei for the rights to advance and book a ticket to Jakarta. These two teams will play in a two-game series where the winner is decided by aggregate score. The series will be won by the team that either wins both games or has scored the most amount of points combined across both contests.
How do these teams stack up heading into this decisive duel?
It was a rough run in the Asia Cup Qualifiers bubble in Clark for Chinese Taipei as they had to play Japan and Chinese for a total of 4 games. The young Chinese Taipei squad had some promising moments, but it wasn’t eough to avoid a third place finish in Group B.
Now they’ll get another chance at qualifying for the Asia Cup, but it won’t be easy. They’ll be facing a formidable foe who will be just as hungry to claim this final spot.
What’s at stake
There are only 8 national team programs that have played in over 20 Asia Cups and Chinese Taipei are one of them. Moreover, they have been in 17 straight Asia Cups as well, dating all the way back to 1985.
Whether that streak will continue - or whether it will come to an end - will be decided in these next two games.
Player to Watch: Chen Ying-Chun
Chen is the cornerstone of Chinese Taipei basketball’s future and was sorely missed when the team played in Clark for the Qualifiers bubble. The 28-year-old point guard has been consistently putting up around 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists per game ever since the World Cup 2019 Asian Qualifiers up to this point.
Now with Asia Cup Qualification - and to an extent, World Cup Qualification - on the line, Chinese Taipei might need just a bit more from their floor general.
Guam have been one of the hottest teams throughout the entire Asia Cup qualification process and now they’re knocking on the door of advancing to that final stage. They play at a breakneck pace and have been one of the highest scoring teams in the Qualifiers at 109.3 points per game.
That’s what the home crowd at Mangilao with be expecting to see in these next two games - hopefully along with seeing their team win and qualify.
What’s at stake
Guam have never qualified to play in the Asia Cup… yet.
That’s what they’ll be aiming to accomplish at the end of these next two games. They’ve blazed through the competition since the Pre-Qualifiers and held their own against New Zealand, but these two games are what it’s all about.
Player to Watch: Daren Hechanova
There are a lot of talented players in Guam’s roster, but there aren’t many that are as entertaining as Hechanova. The 1.90M (6’3”) guard plays with intensity on both ends of the floor, which always gets his team fired up.
He hasn’t been a big time scorer (4.0 points per game) so far in the Qualifiers, but has been highly productive doing everything else from rebounding (7.7 per game) to passing the ball (5.7 assists per game).