Japan head coach Julio Lamas acknowledged his players for playing well for 35 minutes of play, but said the remaining five cost his team a 90-84 defeat to China in FIBA qualifiers. Asia Cup in the Philippines on Saturday.
Japan had an 80-73 lead with six and a half minutes left in the fourth period, but from there they fought against China’s zone defense allowing East Asian rivals to enjoy a 17-4 run to finish the game. game.
Three days after the 66-57 loss, Japan competed much better at their own pace against the same opponents. The team warmed up from behind the arc, shooting 10 out of 20 in the first half, but only scored four in the second.
Japan led 45-41 at the interval.
“We played the best 35 minutes in this window, but we didn’t play well enough in crunch times,” said Lamas after the game, played at the Angeles University Foundation Gym in Pampanga.
Ryan Rossiter agrees with his bench boss, saying: “If you beat a team for 35 minutes, you usually get the win. But as the coach said, in times of crisis, we didn’t run and they made the plays. So credit them. “
Rossiter said his team weren’t necessarily caught off guard by China’s zone defense because they went through “it all” during team scouting and training. He added that instead it has to do with the decision-making process of Japanese players on the pitch.
“We were too passive, we didn’t attack the zone,” said the 31-year-old, who was one of Japan’s best players, with 15 points, four rebounds, six assists and three steals. “We just passed the ball around like a high school team.”
Despite the lost effort, tiny point guard Yuki Togashi made it to the Akatsuki Five in the second half. The 167 cm player scored nine points at the end of the third quarter and 17 in total, the team record.
For China, which has not lost an Olympic spot since the 1984 Los Angeles Games but is currently on the verge of losing the Tokyo Games, 212cm center Zhou Qi posted a record 18 points.
China will try to stamp a ticket for the Tokyo Games through the Olympic qualifying tournament, which starts on June 29.
Japan, in group B of the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers together with China, Taiwan and Malaysia, closed with a record of 2-2.
The top two teams from each group will advance to the Asia Cup in August in Jakarta. For now, Japan has not officially qualified for the main tournament.
But Malaysia has already withdrawn from the tournament and the organizers have not announced how they will approach the matches that did not take place.
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Akatsuki Five, FIBA Asian Cup