PETALING JAYA: Malaysian cagers blew a golden opportunity to secure their best finish in 22 years after narrowly losing 89-87 to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the ninth-12th playoff match of the 26th Fiba Asian Championship in Wuhan, China, yesterday.
Malaysia went into the match after finishing fifth in Group E and were confident of beating UAE, having done so in last month’s Jones Cup in Taiwan.
However, their offence was a letdown despite Chee Li Wei and Loh Shee Fai bagging 18 points and 15 points respectively.
Alzaabi Rashed led the scoring for UAE with 21 points while Alhattawi Alihad chipped in with 20 points.
National coach Goh Cheng Huat was left ruing his team’s missed chances.
“Still, I believe my players will fight till the last second against Uzbekistan,” he said.
Malaysia should have no problem beating Uzbekistan in the 11th-12th playoff match as they had earlier downed the Uzbeks in the second round.
Syria, who beat Uzbekistan 97-65, will face UAE in the ninth-10th playoff match. Jordan pipped Iran 88-84 while South Korea outclassed Japan 86-67 in the quarter-finals yesterday.