MANGILAO, 30 AUGUST 2021 (RNZ PACIFIC)—The Guam men’s basketball team moved a step closer to an historic spot in the Asia Cup after beating Chinese Taipei 77-72 in the first of two final round qualifying games in Mangilao.

The game in Mangilao was the first of two final round qualifying games.

The visitors started the match stronger, racing out to a 25-16 lead after the first quarter, with Guam managing a three-point effort on the buzzer to help limit the damage.

The home side edged the second quarter by two points to cut the deficit to 45-38 at half-time and hit their stride after the interval, as they held Chinese Taipei to just nine third quarter points to give them a narrow lead heading into the final 10 minutes.

Guam held their nerve in the final quarter to give themselves a five-point buffer heading into the second qualifying leg on Saturday afternoon, again in Mangilao.

Coach EJ Calvo said the result was a big step forward but there was still a lot for them to do in the second leg.

“Of course we have to make adjustments,” he said.

“It’s always a process of analysing what we need to do better and that was pretty obvious throughout the game for us.

“We will definitely regroup and prepare for a better performance in our second game, but I think the biggest thing after a tough battle like that is just getting some rest.”

Veteran forward Tai Wesley led the way with 23 points and 9 rebounds, but he was ably supported by Jonathan Galloway (16 rebounds) and youngster Takumi Simon (18 points including four three-pointers).

“There’s one spot left in this FIBA Asia Cup and we want that spot,” Wesley said.

“Guam’s never been able to be represented on a stage like that and so we’re not taking this opportunity for granted.””

Chinese Taipei’s Chen Ying-Chun and Lin Ting-Chien combined for 46 points in the backcourt on 17-29 shooting, including six three-pointers.

The aggregate winner over two legs will claim the final qualifying berth in the Asia Cup main draw….PACNEWS

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