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FIBA (International Basketball Federation)

We gave it our best shot – Hong Kong thrashed by China in World Cup Asian qualifier

Hosts lose their fourth straight match as the mainland treat a capacity crowd to their power and skills at Southorn Stadium

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 February, 2018, 11:15pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 February, 2018, 12:02am

Hong Kong suffered their fourth straight defeat in the World Cup Asian qualifiers after receiving a thrashing from China at Southorn Stadium on Monday night.

Despite home advantage, Hong Kong could barely stand up to their powerful opponents led by former NBA player Yi Jianlian, going down in a 111-58 loss. New Zealand topped group A with their third consecutive victory after beating South Korea 93-84 in Seoul.

The Kiwis lost their opening game to the Koreans but have since bounced back well to record three victories in a row. Captain Duncan Reid was the top scorer for the Hong Kong team with 16 points while Liang Man-hung also got into double figures with 13 points.

Yi netted 11 points for the visitors but China had also five other players who collected double-digits. Point guard Guo Ailun was China’s leading scorer with 15 points on the night.

There were fears before the game that Hong Kong fans may disrespect the Chinese national anthem, as they have done in soccer matches between Hong Kong and Chinese teams.

Watch: Hong Kong fans on their best behaviour during the Chinese national anthem at the game

However, the capacity crowd was well behaved and watched in awe as China outclassed Hong Kong with their power and skills.

The 1,800-strong crowd, plus players from both sides stood at attention to the strains of “March of the Volunteers”. Hong Kong point guard Lee Ki had said before the match that basketball fans in Hong Kong were “always peaceful”.

Hong Kong star Reid wasn’t despondent with the result, saying the hosts stood up to China but lacked the stamina in the end. Reid, who just finished his first season in the CBA with Zhejiang Golden Bulls, remained upbeat with two games left in the qualifying campaign.

“I’m very proud with how we competed as a team today,” said Reid.

“This Chinese team is very strong and you could tell that we gave it our best shot. Obviously, we didn’t have the stamina and the amount of guys to compete for the whole game. But you could tell even in the third and fourth quarter it was a close game and for us it was a successful result.

“We feel that there’s a lot of stuff we could do better. Honestly, our preparations were much less than theirs so we hope we can move forward and continue to improve and continue to get better results. I’m sure, everybody is proud with what we have done today and how we competed.”

The towering centre said he would like to continue his professional career in China, although he added nothing has been confirmed.

“My agent is still discussing my future with the club and hopefully more will be known by March 15,” he said. “Of course I want to stay in China as I am quite happy with the way I played and the improvement I have made with my game.”

In group B, Australia lead with four wins ahead of the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan.