Taiwan to face Australia, Japan in Basketball World Cup Asian qualifiers

02/22/2022 11:17 PM
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Taiwan
Taiwan's men's basketball team. Photo courtesy of Chinese Taipei Basketball Association

Taipei, Feb. 22 (CNA) Taiwan's men's basketball team will tip off Friday against powerhouse Australia in the first round of the Asian Qualifiers for the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

Taiwan, competing under the name Chinese Taipei, plays Australia Friday, followed by Japan Saturday and Australia again Monday in a bubble held at Okinawa Arena, Japan.

Grouped with Australia, Japan, and China, Taiwan will eventually play all teams in the group twice between February and June, with the top three advancing to the Second Round of the qualifiers, expect where either Japan or the Philippines finish outside the top three as they qualify automatically for the next round as hosts.

Japan is one of the hosts of the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup so it automatically qualifies regardless of its position.

The 12 other countries in the qualifiers are New Zealand, South Korea, the Philippines, India, Jordan, Lebanon, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Syria and Bahrain.

The Philippines is co-hosting the event and will also automatically qualify, but Indonesia's guaranteed spot is subject to reaching the Quarter Finals of the FIBA Asia Cup, held July 12-24 in Jakarta.

Six spots are available for the remaining teams.

Taiwan's 14-man squad, which arrived in Japan Tuesday, is made up of five collegiate and nine professional players, including newly naturalized American-Taiwanese William Artino, who is expected to lift the country's performance in the paint.

A total of 12 players will be registered to play in each game.

Taiwan
Taiwan's men's basketball team. Photo courtesy of Chinese Taipei Basketball Association

Quincy Davis, a national hero for his past national team exploits, told CNA it will be tough playing Australia but it will also provide an opportunity for Taiwan's team to understand what they need to do to get better.

Speaking about newly naturalized big man, Davis said Artino will need to have patience because he has not had much practice time with the national squad.

"This is really going to be the first big test for them, just be patient, try to share the ball as much as possible and try to lead us. Again, Taiwan's a very young country in the sense of basketball, so we need guidance and support," Davis said.

Artino is going to be the next piece in the puzzle to help boost the national team, he said.

"Just keep these guys together, win, lose, or draw, let's learn from this and build on it," Davis said.

Davis first came to Taiwan in 2011 to play in the local Super Basketball League (SBL). After helping his team clinch its first championship title in 2012 and being named Most Valuable Player, the 203-centimeter player was given the chance to join Taiwan's national team.

The offer prompted him to renounce his U.S. citizenship and obtain Republic of China citizenship in 2013.

He has since become a household name in Taiwan, playing a major role in lifting the international competitiveness of Taiwanese basketball, with his biggest moment coming in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship.

Davis spearheaded the national team's most notable international victory in the past two decades when he scored 26 points on 12-13 shooting from the floor and pulled down 11 rebounds in a stunning 96-78 drubbing of China in the tournament's quarterfinals.

Davis' clinical display helped put Taiwan back on Asia's basketball map as it finished in the top four in the prestigious tournament for the first time since the turn of the millennium.

Even though the national team is currently in a developing period, Davis said he is optimistic for the future as Taiwan's professional basketball grows.

Quincy Davis (front). CNA photo Feb. 22, 2022
Quincy Davis (front). CNA photo Feb. 22, 2022

"As P. LEAGUE+ grows, so does the fan support and the money. And as Taiwanese citizens we don't need to leave our country to go to another country to make a living to support our families," Davis said. "A lot of these top players are coming back here and it's just going to make the game much stronger."

Davis was referring to Chou Yi-hsiang (周儀翔), a shooting guard who has played for Taiwan's national team and spent the past five seasons performing in China.

Chou, who has frequently represented Taiwan in international tournaments, has been playing in the Chinese Basketball Association since the 2017-2018 season, most recently with the Beijing Ducks from 2019-2022.

He will join the P. LEAGUE's Kaohsiung Steelers, the team announced last week, but the 31-year-old shooting guard will first head to Okinawa before playing in Kaohsiung to report to the national team for the qualifiers.

(By William Yen)

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