China to reinforce FIBA-Asia squad

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China to reinforce FIBA-Asia squad

Post by Admin on Tue Jul 17, 2007 7:31 am

By Joaquin Henson

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Because of China’s
poor showing in the just-concluded Manila Invitationals, the team will
likely be reinforced by at least three more recruits from the 22-man
national pool for the FIBA-Asia Championships in Tokushima on July 28-Aug. 5.

PBA commissioner Noli Eala said yesterday a
ranking official of the Chinese delegation intimated there will be
changes in the lineup for the Olympic qualifiers.

China
enlisted four players from its national pool to combine with veterans
from the Chinese league and standouts from the under-20 selection for
the Manila Invitationals. Coach Adijian Chang Bin was visibly upset by
the “B” team’s last place finish.

It was the “B” team’s first overseas appearance and exposed China as beatable in Tokushima. China posted a 2-2 record and lost a 90-85 decision to Syria in the battle for third place at the Big Dome last Sunday. The consolation was China won two of three elimination round games, beating Syria, 98-94, and host Philippines, 77-74.

China is bracketed with Jordan, Iran and the Philippines in Group A in the first round of eliminations in Tokushima. Philippine coach Chot Reyes called it “the group of death” because every team has a chance to advance to the quarterfinals.

In the Manila Invitationals, China
showed its vulnerability by ranking last in field goal percentage
(.412), rebounding (36.7), field goal percentage allowed (.525) and
fastbreak points allowed (16.Cool. The stats pointed to deficiencies on
both ends of the floor.

“It wasn’t mentioned who exactly will be
the replacements but definitely, not their NBA guys,” said Eala,
referring to Yao Ming, Wang Zhizhi, Sun Yue and Yi Jianlian. “I think
the Chinese team will get a center, a power forward and a guard. But
even then, they’re still vulnerable.”

Eala said he was told the “B” team had hardly played together before flying to Manila.
The consensus was the team appeared to be badly coached. Adijian, an
assistant in Chinese national team coach Jonas Kaulauskas‚ staff, was
assigned to call the shots for the “B” squad in Tokushima.

China is sending its “B” team to Tokushima because Kaulauskas is fielding the top squad in the Stankovic Cup on July 28-Aug. 2 in Guangzhou and Macau. Besides, there is no incentive for China to win in Tokushima because it is automatically seeded into the 12-team basketball tournament in Beijing next year as the host country.

But Eala said China will play for pride in the Olympic qualifiers. “With the lineup they played in the Invitationals, maybe even Jordan has a chance to beat China,” continued Eala. “I’m sure China will find it unacceptable to be eliminated in the first round.”

Among the national pool players who may be tapped to reinforce China in Tokushima
are 7-foot center Tang Zhengdong, 6-5 guard Gong Songlin, 6-6 forward
Zhu Fangyu and 7-1 center Zhang Song Tao. The four players are not in
the “A” roster.

The “B” team that played in the
Invitationals featured four national pool players – 6-2 Zhang Qingpeng,
6-4 Yang Ming, 6-7 Wang Yong and 6-6 Han Shuo but none averaged in
double digits. The leading scorers were 6-11 Yi Li (15.3), 6-11 Zhang
Kai (12.0) and 6-10 Li Ke (10.5). Li, 27, played on the Chinese squad
that took the gold medal at the Asian Games last year.

Eala said since the Jones Cup, the Philippine team has made clear headway.

“Chot has started using a more defined
rotation of players,” he added. “All credit goes to the coaching staff
and the team. They’re playing with lots of pride, a sense of urgency, a
clear purpose and tons of energy. Chot is at his coaching best –
looking for mismatches, maximizing strengths of the team and defining
roles for everyone. The assistant coaches are working hard, scouting,
studying opponents and preparing the gameplan. The players are driven
and focused. (Team manager) Robert (Non) is giving San Miguel’s all-out
support. It’s been an entire team effort.

“As for me, I just explained to the team
what their laptops and modern devices do not show. The eagerness of all
the fans to see some respect for the Philippines,
the pride of the Filipino in our game and how grateful the nation is
for what they’re doing. More than victory, it’s respect that we’re
gaining.”
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