Like the majority of the seven teams that competed in the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers’ Clark window, Chinese-Taipei brought a young team to the tournament in hopes of gaining experience for the future.
Chinese-Taipei, which has Charles Parker, had an average age of 24 years old with some players still playing in the University Basketball Alliance. However, the Chinese-Taipei 12 only stood at an average of 6-foot-2.
The team then instilled 6-foot-8 Jonah Morrison as its de facto center. He played two years for the University of British Columbia, before turning pro last year with P.League+ team Formosa Dreamers.
It then faced off against the likes of Japan’s Avi Schafer and Gavin Edwards and China’s Zhou Qi, Liu Chuanxing, and Shen Zijie — all of whom are pro players in their respective leagues.
“In the past year playing pro, I’ve been playing with some of the biggest bigs in basketball like [Hasheem] Thabeet. So coming here, it was a new thing to me, but it took a toll because I was the only big in the team,” said Morrison.
“It fatigued me a lot so I know that I have to build my stamina more so I can support my team better.”
Morrison, 21, averaged 6.0 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in three games played.
Their naturalized player Mohammad Al Bachir Gadiaga, better known as Abbasi, also got a better view of Asian basketball.
Abbasi is still in his third year with Shih Hsin University, and only made his national team debut in the tournament. And he felt overwhelmed by it all; the 6-foot-2 guard only averaged 5.0 points and 1.7 boards in 11.5 minutes of game time.
“He started pretty late.
“When he was in college, he did not have that much opportunity to develop serious skills and elite basketball training. In the future, we need to develop his knowledge of basketball concepts,” said Chinese-Taipei assistant coach Cheng Chihlung.
Chinese-Taipei unfortunately ended their Qualifiers campaign with a 1-4 slate. However, they still have a chance to break into the Asia Cup proper this August.
They join Indonesia and Guam in Group A of the second round, with either the Guamanians or the Taiwanese punching their ticket to the Asia Cup.
Morrison knows that the experience they gained will be of huge help entering the next round.
“For this game, I thought we improved a lot compared to the first day. In the first day, we were still getting used to how to play as a team. But now, after two games, our chemistry is building up and we will play better in the future.”