NAGANO (EABA Championship 2017) - China and hosts Japan opened the EABA Championship 2017 with wins over Chinese Taipei and Korea respectively.
Home team Japan kicked things off by handing defending champions Korea their first loss, 78-72. Naturalized player Ira Demon Brown came up big for the Akatsuki Five, scoring 10 points, grabbing 8 rebounds, handing out 5 assists and netting 2 steals in a well-rounded effort.
Japan pounded the ball down low, outscoring Korea in the paint, 40-22. The game was tight from the opening tip, but the Japanese never relinquished the lead en route to their first victory over Korea in the history of this tournament.
The frontline duo of Lee JongHyun and Kang SangJae had 12 points each for Korea, while top tier shooter Lee DaeSung paced them with 15 points on the back of 3 triples.
In the second game, China romped all over rivals Chinese Taipei, 96-63. The Taipei quintet could not get anything going, while the Chinese dominated with their size and athleticism. Coach Fan Bin's wards led 21-8 at the end of the first period and never looked back. They dominated the battle of the boards, 40-33, and held Taipei down to just 35.8% field goal shooting.
Super sniper Zhao Yanhao spearheaded China's efforts with 22 points. He hit 4 of China's 10 three-pointers. Young big man Hu Jinqiu also impressed with 20 points and 8 rebounds, while Sun Minghui and Zhu Rongzhen combined for 22 points. On the other end, naturalized player Qunciy Davis and Liu Cheng were the only bright spots for Chinese Taipei, scoring 15 and 10 points respectively.
Japan will face lightweight Macau, while China take on Hong Kong on Day Two.
Japan beat Korea, 78-72
China beat Chinese Taipei, 96-63