China picks up an important victory in their first game of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers over Japan, 66-57. Both teams started the game off a bit rusty on offense with China up ahead 32-20 at halftime in the first game of the bubble here in the Philippines. The pace picked up in the second half as both teams found their grooves on the offensive end. Japan started to find their stroke from long range, but China was able to pick apart their opponent’s defense to widen the gap as the game progressed heading into the 4th quarter. Though Japan was down by 22 points at one point as their biggest deficit in the game, they able to claw their way back to within 7 points riding the sharpshooting of Makoto Hiejima (190-G/F-90). However, they were unable to close the gap after Gavin Edwards (206-F/C-88, college: UConn) fouled out of the game, leaving China to run away with the win. Zhou Peng (206-SF-89) had the hot hand for China, scoring 16 points on four three-pointers. Nonetheless, it was a balanced effort by the entire squad as 10 of the 12 players got on the scoreboard with at least 3 points to their name. Japan had three players score in double-digits led by Hiejima and Kosuke Kanamaru (193-F/G-89) who had 12 points each. Also worth noting is Guam’s 112-66 win over Hong Kong. The win completed a two-game sweep for Guam over Hong Kong in the bubble in Jordan. All players scored for Guam in the blowout, led by Jericho Cruz (182-G-90)’s 20 points. Tai Wesley (201-F-86, college: Utah St.) also had a big game with 18 points, 15 rebounds, and 5 assists.
Courtesy of: fiba.basketball