Fall of Great Wall
By Nelson Beltran Updated Saturday August 10, 2013 - 5:11pm

Yi Jianlian (face covered) fails to lead China to the medal round after a shocking defeat to Chinese Taipei, 96-78, on Friday night. They barely beat Jordan, 79-76, to finish fifth place in the tournament. Photo courtesy of FIBA Asia

MANILA, Philippines - The fall of the Great Wall in the 27th FIBA Asia Championship will mark only the second time next year in Spain that Asia's most dominant team will miss the world meet since becoming a FIBA member in 1974.

As Asia's mighty ruler since the 70s, China has been to eight world championships with best finishes of ninth place in 1986 in Spain and 10 years later in Japan.

It has also been to eight Olympics with three eighth-place windups in Atlanta in 1996, Athens in 2004 and at home in Beijing in 2008.

But the current FIBA Asia wars underscored the fact that China's regional rivals - with the help of their naturalized players -- have caught up with the once unbeatable East Asian team.

China was cut down to size by Korea, crushed by Iran then suffered a first-ever loss in a major championship to the tiny island nation of Chinese Taipei - the worst disaster that struck Chinese basketball.

Before the Manila competition, the Chinese had never been bumped out of the Top Three except in 2007 in Tokushima where they fielded their second team when they were already seeded to the 2008 Olympics.

With the numbing defeat at the hands of Chinese Taipei, China was relegated to the consolation round where the best it could get is fifth place. 

China is back in limbo following title drought in 2007 and 2009.

Actually, the Chinese barely reclaimed the crown in Wuhan in 2011, nipping the fierce-fighting Jordan team, 70-69, in the title match.

Speculations abound after China's downfall Friday night with almost all expecting Greek coach Panagiotis Giannakis to be dismissed upon their return to Beijing.

It would be remembered that American coach Bob Donewald lost his job after failing to steer the Chinese team to a single win in the last Olympics.

The Manila debacle is definitely a bitterer pill to swallow for the Chinese.

There were those who were saying that it well appeared that the Chinese didn't want to play for Giannakis.

Whatever, the Chinese fared poorly, barely up the .500 mark (with a 4-3 win-loss card) through the quarterfinals.

Through 19 FIBA Asia appearances before the Manila competition, China boasted a 93.96 percent winning record, losing just nine of 149 games.

With the improvement of the Iranians, the Koreans, the Taiwanese and the Filipinos, the woes of the Chinese might not end here.

comments powered by Disqus
Saturday, August 10, 2013 @ MOA Arena
5:45 PM - Semifinal Round
Iran vs Chinese Taipei
8:00 PM - Semifinal Round
Philippines vs Korea