Favorites China did not live up to the fame as they had a hard-fought 82-59 win over the lowly United Arab Emirates in a group E match at the Asian Men's Basketball Championships on Monday.
The game had more ups and downs than what the score line showed as China barely managed a tied second quarter and were beaten in the third period before they woke up.
The UAE, which had one win and two losses, including a 108-38 loss to Lebanon, cut short the trailing gap as close as six points in the third quarter when they won 21-15.
"I'm disappointed in spite that we won the game," Chinese head coach Guo Shiqiang said. "We didn't have the right attitude towards the game. We didn't give enough respect to the opponents. I hope we won't make the same mistake in the later games."
On the contrary, the UAE acted like they had won the game.
"I give credit to my players. They did a good job," UAE head coach Ben Slimane Mounir said. "China is a great team, but tonight we made some problems to them."
After leading 27-10 in the first quarter, China scored only four points in over seven minutes to let UAE close up. In the third period, the UAE used a 12-0 run to make it 51-45.
China still keep the perfect record with four wins and will face Lebanon, which edged Qatar 73-63, for the first placing of the group.
The top four teams of each group on the second phase will qualify for the quarter-finals and teams in the same groups on the first phase need not meet again.
South Korea, Iran and Jordan were also unbeatable so far in the tournament.
South Korea held back a strong challenge of Kuwait as they won 78-58. The first half saw South Koreans lead four points but the two-time Asian champions pulled away in the second half.
Jordan defeated Kazakhstan 98-80 thanks to 29 points from Rasheim Wright while Iran crushed Japan 101-71.
Philippines won a crucial group E clash with Chinese Taipei 77-70 to better their chance of qualification.
Willie Miller Jr. made his fifth 3-pointer with 14 seconds to go to dash the last hope of Chinese Taipei, which had two wins and two losses so far in the tournament.
In Monday afternoon's other matches, Indonesia beat India 91-52 while Uzbekistan defeated Sri Lanka 90-47 in the 13th-16th placing finals.
(Xinhua News Agency August 11, 2009)