Sat, 27 Aug 1994

Saudis down S. Koreans in Independence Cup

JAKARTA (JP): Saudi Arabia, armed with tall players and three American coaches, destroyed the South Korean Army team 72-62 to take the lead in group B of the Fifth Independence Cup at the Senayan indoor stadium yesterday.

The Saudis dominated the game throughout the match with their forceful fastbreaks and remarkably tight teamwork. The Koreans, however, refused to give up and tried to rely on their three- point shooters to even out the odds.

The first half was tight as evidenced by the score of 35-33 in favor of the Saudis. Three of the Korean shooters, Lee Sang Bum, Kim Hyun Joo and Kim Jae Youl, managed to deliver consistent treys which drew applause from the 300 local diehards.

The Saudis, however, were quick learners and obviously figured out the Korean strategy during the second half. The Koreans were effectively outmatched and managed to revive those neat three- pointers only seconds before the game ended.

Of course, the fact that the Saudis had three American coaches who constantly yelled instructions during the course of the game played a crucial factor.

It was the best game during the tourney so far as the rest of the matches were either dull or completely one-sided.

For example, Iran demolished Indonesia Junior 101-43 earlier in the day while favorite Russia tamed a sloppy United Arab Emirates team 65-49.

During the second half, the Russians - who played very unglamorously as the world's number two basketball power - managed to score 16 baskets virtually unchallenged to break open a 38 all tie.

The Emirates' coach, also an American, was clearly frustrated as he yelled "Wake up guys!" at this point.

The Philippines, the darling of the awestruck female teenyboppers, played against Jakarta Selection late last night.

The Saudis are scheduled to face Iran on Saturday while the Emirates are tipped to meet the Philippines.

The South Koreans, meanwhile, are to meet Indonesia Junior while Russia is expected to make short work of Jakarta Selection.

The tourney rests on Sunday and will be continued on Monday. (hdj)