29 August, 2015
05 September
12 Suk Yong RO (D.P.R.of Korea)
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Drama awaits in Asia Women's Championship relegation/promotion games

WUHAN (2015 FIBA Asia Women's Championship) - Thailand, India, Philippines and DPR Korea will not be playing to finish on the podium at the 2015 FIBA Asia Women's Championship, but the stakes will still be extremely high in Friday's promotion/relegation games.

The two winners, after all, will get to play in Level I (Group A) at the 2017 edition of the continental event, while the losing sides will be placed in Level II (Group B).

For the Philippines and DPR Korea, this is their golden chance to move up from Level II and prove they belong with the best teams and players in the continent.

For Thailand and India, this is their chance at redemption after losing most of their games in the Group Phase play of Level I.

Thailand v DPR Korea
The Thais take on DPR Korea in the first game, which promises to be quite interesting indeed. Two years ago, the Thais found themselves on the opposite side of the fence, topping Level II (Group B) and beating Kazakhstan to move up to Level I. Now it's the other way around as DPR Korea look to unseat the Thais from their perch.

Without a doubt, Thidaporn Maihom will be the main player for Thailand here, as she leads the team in scoring, rebounding, and steals. At 13.4 points per game, the 1.70m forward is certainly coach Pojana Sujaritwibool's top bet on offense.

Coach Kim Yong-Sik and the rest of DPR Korea will rely on the terrific triumvirate of Pak Hyang-Jong, Ro Suk-Yong, and Sin Hyon-Ok which has combined to average 48.4 points per game over their five group games. That's more than 66 percent of their team's offense running through those three ladies.

If Thailand fail to find a way to contain Pak, Ro, and Sin, then the curtain may fall early on this encounter.

India v Philippines
The other promotion/relegation game should be a dramatic one between the Philippines and India.

Two years ago, India were in a similar position, fighting for their Level I (Group A) slot with another Southeast Asian team, Malaysia. India prevailed in that game, 74-59, but they may not be as fortunate here as the Filipinas have been on a bit of a hot streak lately, winning all of their last four outings.

Afril Bernardino, Allana Lim, Camille Sambile, and veteran campaigner Merenciana Arayi have been the biggest contributors for this Philippine team, which was just formed not more than a couple of months ago. They certainly have the scoring ability to challenge India, but their inexperience may yet prove to be their Achilles heel.

India, meanwhile, have been reasonably competitive in group play, but they will need to muster their best effort here against a streaking and hungry Philippine quintet.

Coach Francisco Garcia will probably rely heavily on main scorer and rebounder Jeen Skaria, while also counting on the likes of Smruthi Radhakrishnan and Anitha Paul Durai.

India need to maximise their chances of winning by gaining early separation against the Philippines. If the Filipinas are allowed to stay within striking distance, they have the capability to pull the rug from under India, as Kazakhstan found recently.