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AC: Allen key to Opals success

MAINTAINING a FIBA Asia Cup "tradition" begun two years ago by Australia's Kelsey Griffin, Rebecca Allen last night was named in the tournament's All Star Five shortly after a classic Final in which Japan claimed the Gold from China in a 71-68 thriller. 

It was one hell of a Final, as good as any game of basketball you could ever want to see, four of its stars - Japan's Nako Motohashi and Yuki Miyazawa, China's Xu Han and Shao Ting - joining Allen in the Stars quintet.

“She’s our shooter, we are at our best when she is being aggressive,” Opals coach Sandy Brondello said of Allen.

Motohashi also was named MVP as Japan roared back into the Final after struggling in the first half, the quicksilver playmaker finishing with 24 points and eight assists.

The Sree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium in Bengaluru, India, was alive as China's Shao Ting's final shot to force overtime hit iron as time expired.

Japan's success gave it its historic fourth consecutive women's Asia Cup title and fifth all-time.

China, which never expected to be playing for Gold but achieved it by catching out Australia 70-69, then handling Korea in their semi, led by as many as 10 points in the first half.

Japan came out full of zeal from the halftime break and a 3-pointer from Maki Takada reclaimed the lead 44-42.

Motohashi was simply super, her 24-point haul her best of the tournament.

Shao Ting led China with 18 points but Xu Han was a huge target inside, often drawing double and triple-teams. The international future of both these teams looks infinitely exciting.

The bronzed Aussies need to be mindful their FIBA world #3 ranking in itself isn't making any opponent shudder in their boots right now.

Final Asia Cup Standings
1. Japan
2. China
3. Australia
4. Korea
5. New Zealand
6. Chinese Taipei
7. Philippines
8. India

FIBA Women's Asia Cup 2019 All-Star Five
Nako Motohashi, Japan (TISSOT MVP) - 17.0 points, 5.0 assists per game
Yuki Miyazawa, Japan - 12.8 points, 9.0 rebounds per game
Shao Ting, China - 5.6 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists per game
Han Xu, China - 11.8 points , 6.0 rebounds, 2.6 blocks per game
Rebecca Allen, Australia - 11.7 points, 4.5 rebounds per game

B.O.T.I. Asia Cup coverage links:

Group B: Opals v Phillipines Opals v New Zealand Opals v China

Classification: Opals v Chinese Taipei

Semi Final: Opals v Japan

Bronze Medal: Opals v Korea

Sep 30

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