Korea scores berth to hoops World Cup

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Korea scores berth to hoops World Cup

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Korea's Cho Sung-min, center, passes the ball to teammate Lee Jung-hyun (15) as Taiwan's Quincy Davis III, defends during the bronze match of the FIBA Asia Basketball Championship at the Mall of Asia Arena at suburban Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines Sunday. Korea won 75-57 to win a berth to the World Cup to be held in Spain next year. [AP/NEWSIS]

Korea’s men’s basketball team beat Taiwan, 75-57, at the third-place decider of the FIBA Asia Championship in the Philippines yesterday, earning Korea its first berth to the world championships in 16 years.

Kim Min-goo scored a game-high 21 points as Yoo Jae-hak’s squad dominated the game early on at the Mall of Asia Arena, south of Manila. Kim Joo-sung pitched in with 12 points and eight rebounds while Cho Sung-min added 11 points.

Lu Cheng-ju scored 13 points for Taiwan while Quincy Davis added 12 points.

The top three teams at the Asia Championship earn a berth to the FIBA World Cup. The other two berths went to Iran and the Philippines, who entered the finals late last night.

It is the first time that Korea has landed a slot in the World Cup, previously known as the World Championship, since it competed in the Greece event in 1998. The 2014 World Cup, to be held in Spain beginning Aug. 30, 2014, will be Korea’s seventh appearance at the worlds, at which 24 teams will compete.

It was a revenge match for Korea, which lost to Taiwan, 73-60, at the William Jones Cup in Taiwan last month.

Korea, which lost to the host the Philippines, 86-79, at the semifinals a day earlier, collected themselves and concentrated from early on, leading 50-29 at the half.

Korea’s dogged defense limited the naturalized 2.06-meter center Davis to four points in the first half. Lu led Taiwan with 11 points in the first half.

Kim, a Kyung Hee University senior who also scored a game-high 27 points in the semifinals against the Philippines, exploded for 13 points in the second quarter, nine of them on three 3-pointers. Cho Sung-min of Busan KT Sonicboom added 11 points, which also included three 3-pointers.

Taiwan rallied in the third quarter, reducing the deficit by 15 points, but Kim and Yoon Ho-young maintained Korea’s momentum, chipping in 3-pointers.

Both teams entered the third-place decider with six victories and two losses. Korea lost to Iran, 76-65, in the group round before falling to the Philippines at the semifinals. Taiwan lost to Iran at the semifinals, 79-60, on Saturday, after it lost to Qatar, 71-68, in the group competition, but it upset China, 96-78, at the quarterfinals on Friday. Taiwan also beat the Philippines, 84-79, in the group competition.

It is the second consecutive time that Korea finished third at the Asia Championship after the China event in 2011.

BY MOON GWANG-LIP [joe@joongang.co.kr]
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