Blatche-less China Kashgar ousts Austin-led Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas from title contention

ByJay King

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Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas kissed its title hopes goodbye in the FIBA Asia Champions Cup after suffering a 70-86 at the hands of the defending champions China Kashgar in their quarterfinal match on Thursday at the Chenzhou Sports Center in China.

In another disappointment, the much anticipated clash between naturalization candidate Isaiah Austin and Andray Blatche didn’t happen as the naturalized Gilas player didn’t suit up for his Chinese mother club.

Austin finished with 16 points and 11 boards to lead the Philippine club together with Kiefer Ravena who also scored 16 markers along with three rebounds and two assists.. Carl Bryan Cruz and Jett Manuel added 10 points each for Chooks-to-Go.

Instead of Blatche, who sat out the game after playing against Al Riyadi on Tuesday, China Kashgar unleashed the dynamic duo of American import Darius Adams and local star Xi Re Li Jiang Mugedaer. Adams scored a team-high 23 points, 21 of them in the first half. He also had nine rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Xi Re Li Jiang added 20 markers, eight of them in the third quarter when the Chinese side started to pull away, turning a 45-39 halftime lead into a 68-57 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.

China Kashgar, made up of the core of Xinjiang Flying Tigers, thus advances into the semifinals against Kazakhstan’s BC Astana.

Chooks-to-Go was relegated to the classification round and will take on Shabab Al Ahli-Dubai on Friday with a chance to finish as high as fifth place in the continental club championship.

The Philippine club shot a dismal 5-of-23 from beyond the three-point arc against China Kashgar’s 14-of-35.

China Kashgar started the game with a 17-4 run. The Filipinos refused to be intimidated by their much taller rivals, tying the game at 39-all with 2:00 left in the second quarter. But the uprising was short-lived as the Chinese side, playing in their home country, came firing away late in the second quarter. They sustained their fire throughout the second half, taking a commanding 21-point lead, 84-63, with 5:25 to play, before cruising to victory.

The scores:

CHINA KASHGAR 86 – Adams 23, Xi Re Li Jiang 20, Yu 11, Wang 8, Makan 7, Sun M 6, Li 4, Tang 3, Liu 2, Sun T 2.

CHOOKS-TO-GO PILIPINAS 70 – Austin 16, Ravena 16, Cruz 10, Manuel 10, Jose 5, Torres 5, Jeron Teng 4, Tamsi 2, Vosotros 2, Revilla 0, Jeric Teng 0.

Quarterscores: 24-17, 45-39, 68-57, 86-70.