China to put in its best in Olympics basketball

August 2nd, 2008 - 7:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Nanjing (China), Aug 2 (Xinhua) China is gearing up to put in its best performance in the men’s basketball event at the Beijing Olympics.. It will be a tough task for the host country to advance from the preliminary round as it is grouped with world’s top three teams, Spain, Greece and the United States.

China’s goal is to at least enter the second round, and it wants to produce its best results at home.

“I hope a miracle happens at the Olympics,” said Hu Jiashi, team manager and vice director of the China Basketball Management Centre, the country’s basketball governing body, Friday.

China has to score at least two wins at the preliminary round to advance.

“We won’t take on Germany and Angola as our targets, as the media and experts suggested. I cannot say we will beat the US or Spain. But who says we cannot score on the other opponents? We beat world champion Serbia and Montenegro at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

“We beat Slovenia to advance to the top 16 at the 2006 World Championship. The women’s team also beat the United States at the warm-up in April. Everything is possible,” Hu said.

China completed its Olympic warm-up matches with a 75-46 win over Iran Friday at the Diamond Cup, running 14-2 in total.

They will play a closed-door match against Russia Aug 6 at Beijing before their Olympic game against the United States Aug 10.

The two losses came from a defeat to Angola by 72-71 at the Stankovic Cup, and a 67-55 defeat to Australia Wednesday.

“We didn’t play well during our loss to Angola. But we got ready and came back strong to beat them here (83-74). We could have been better in the match to Australia. We learned a lot. I’ll work on them after we go back to Beijing.

“The training sessions in the following days will be more oriented to our group opponents,” Hu added.

Hu said China is aware of its opponent’s strategy to isolate its star player Yao Ming and cut the connection between him and passers.

“Other teams will definitely take full-court one-on-one defence when they face China. They’ll try to wear Yao down as he is critical to our offence. Obviously, we’ll do our things to deal with them.”

This is the first time the Olympics will be held in China. Basketball, the arguable first sport in China, is one of the most awaited events at the Beijing Games.

“To win or to lose, it doesn’t matter. The priority is to cheer up the fans. We could lose games, but we cannot let the fans down. This is a chance for centuries. We’ll give our fans the best Olympic basketball competition in the Chinese history,” Hu said.

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