Korea takes last ticket to FIBA World

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Japeth Aguilar hangs on the ring after a dunk as Gilas Pilipinas demolished South Korea in the semi-final of FIBA Asia at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday . PHOTO BY RENE H. DILAN

South Korea joins Iran and the Philippines as Asia’s representatives to the FIBA World Championships in Madrid, Spain, next year.

The Koreans earned the last Asian slot by cruising past Chinese-Taipei, 75-57, to clinch third place in the FIBA Asia Championship on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

As FIBA Asia finalists, Iran and host Philippines automatically advance to the world group.

The Iranians and the Filipinos were to dispute the crown after the South Korea-Chinese Taipei game.

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Iran made it to the finals via a 79-60 romp over the Taiwanese in the semifinals on Saturday. In the other semis game, Gilas Pilipinas edged South Korea in an 86-79 thriller.

Rebounding from their setback to Gilas Pilipinas, the Koreans dominated the Taiwanese early, surging to a 29-13 lead in the first quarter. Kim Mingoo had 13 in the first half that stretched their advantage to 50-29 in the next frame.

Chinese-Taipei, the only team that defeated the Philippines in the elimination round, tried valiantly to keep up with the Koreans but can only reduce the gap to 44-59 in the third quarter.

”Today we played good defense and we also made good in our shooting,” said Korean coach Yoo Jae Hak.

Also contributing for South Korea were Kim Joo-sung with 12, Cho Sungmin with 12 and Yang Donggeun and Yoon Ho-young with 9 each.

Lu Cheng Ju led the scoring for the Taiwanese with 13 points and Quincy Davis III finished with 12.

Earlier, Jordan had five players led by Mahmoud Abdeen scoring in double figures as it routed Kazakhstan, 88-59, to finished seventh in the 15-team tournament. The Kazakhs of coach Matteo Boniciolli settled for 8th place.

China, the winningest team in FIBA-Asia with 15 titles, defeated Qatar, 96-85 , to take the fifth spot, one of their poorest showings in the biennial event, which the Philippines last hosted in 1973.

Guo Ailun led China with 21 pointsWang Shipeng added 14 and 13 from veteran Wang Zhi-Zhi as they came back from a one-point down in the opening quarter to recover from a stunning 78-96 setback to Chinese-Taipei in the quarterfinal round on Thursday.

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