Japan thump Indian eves

Japan, with three victories, along with Chinese-Taipei who earlier overcame Thailand 76-66 for their second win, joined defending champions Korea and China in the semifinals. The two unbeaten teams, Korea and China, face off later on Tuesday night to decide the top two spots in the Level I league.

For India, it was yet another disastrous outing and finished their league engagements losing all their five matches to end up sixth and last in Level I, behind Thailand who lost four and scored a lone win against India. In the play-off matches, the winners of which will gain spots in Level II for the next championship, India face Malaysia while Thailand take on Lebanon.

Yet again, it was skipper Geetu Anna Jose who averted a total annihilation as she single-handedly took the fight to the Japanese. She emerged the highest scorer in the game with a tally of 30. Japan then seized the initiative and outplayed India to jump to a 55-31 lead at half-time.  The Japanese superiority became even more pronounced as the game progressed in the fourth quarter and the Indians all but gave up the fight against their better-organised opponents.

Meanwhile, Malaysia scrambled to a 78-77 win against Uzbekistan to chalk up their fourth win and round off the Level II league with a 4-1 win-loss record and qualify for the play-offs along with Lebanon who defeated Kazakhstan 83-58. Malaysia, relegated two years ago, came up with a Houdini act in the final five minutes after trailing 54-70 midway through the fourth quarter.

Kazakhstan thus finished third in Level II, followed by The Philippines who outplayed Sri Lanka 70-55. The Lankans yet again finished at the bottom without a win, behind Uzbekistan.

Results: Level I: Japan: 108 (Yoshie Sakurada 26, Al Mitani 20, Kumiko Yamada 15) bt India: 58 (Geetu Anna Jose 30, Raspreet Sidhu 10). HT: 55-31; Chinese-Taipei: 76 (Liu Chin-yi 16) bt Thailand: 66 (Juthamas Jantakan 22).

Level II: Malaysia: 78 (Kew Suik-may 18, Yong Shin-min 13, Pee Yann Yann 11) bt Uzbekistan: 77 (Irina Polunina 19, Yelena Khusnitdinova 18); Lebanon: 83 (Chantelle Anderson 23, Chada Nasr 13, Sandra Najem 13) bt Kazakhstan: 58 (Nataliya Kuzmicheva 15, Nadezhda 14); The Philippines: 70 (Merenciana Arayi 23) bt Sri Lanka: 55 (Premila Beruwalage 12, Inoka Juwan Pedige 12).

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