Its early days but the makings of a Hollywood screenplay started to possibly get written in eastern China on Sunday afternoon. Losing badly to the Guangsha Lions on the road, the Bayi Rockets’ veteran head coach Adiljan looked down the bench and called out a player’s name. There is a slight murmur around the arena as people pick up on what is going on. Bayi’s starting point guard Tian Yuxing is beckoned over to the bench and the substitute is sent into the fray. At seventeen and playing in his first professional game, everything is moving a little too quickly for him. In fifteen minutes of play, he will shot 3-of-5 from the field for 7 points but also pick up 5 fouls and turn the ball over twice. It doesn’t matter too much though given that it is garbage time and the Rockets are on the way to getting blown out 128-86 by an inspired Guangsha Lions. The manner of the defeat is embarrassing but at least one silver lining for the new Rockets player is that his dad got to see him play his first professional game in person. What makes it more special though is that it would be the old man himself, Adiljan, that gave him his first start in the league. Continue reading “Arslan and Adiljan; How Two Generations Of Point Guard Are Trying To Save China’s Greatest Team”
Once upon a time, the Bayi Rockets were the unquestioned masters of the Chinese basketball world. The army team have since fallen on hard times after previous seasons of regular finals appearances and now, with the influx of capable overseas imports (Bayi are not allowed non-Chinese players), their recent form has been less glamorous. Last season, the team finished with a 10-22 record, a relative humiliation in their otherwise proud history. Continue reading “Scouting Report: Bayi Rockets (8-4)”
The Sharks finally won a game on the road despite the continued absences of Liu Wei and Tseng Wen-ting. Ryan Forehan-Kelly, who was also expected to be out injured, was passed fit and Shanghai needed him to steady the nerves of his younger team mates and combine with a swaggering Mike Harris to lead the Sharks to victory against a suitably villainous Bayi Rockets team. Continue reading “Bayi Rockets 85 – Shanghai Sharks 94”
After improving their record to 4-1 at home thanks to a closer-than-it-really-needed-to-be win against Shanxi, the Sharks are back on the road against Bayi Rockets, who most of you will recall bravely beating the shit out of a bunch of students from Georgetown University in the summer.
Shanghai are struggling on the road and won’t be pleased about going down to Ningbo to face a side that’s 5-1 at home, with their one defeat coming against the current CBA pace setters, the Beijing Ducks. The Rockets don’t have an overseas players (which conversely affects the amount of foreigners that can be used against Bayi) and without a superstar that can score 40+ points a game (the highest individual scorer in a game was Mo Ke, with 31 points), Bayi seem to have got reasonable contributions from the majority of their team.
The Sharks will have to be weary of a team that, as befitting their army legacy, play together than as a collection of individuals. Mo and Wang Zhizh are their most notable players but there isn’t a signposted big threat so it could be anyone’s night come Sunday. A perusal of what can be found about their recent games on the internet and Sina confirms that Bayi can get tough with grown men as well as American teenagers and like to mix it up with the best of them.
The absence of Tseng will be tough against a physical line-up and RFK’s calmness will be sorely missed if as expected he is out for a while. Feng Tian has been impressive in the last two games so the absence of Liu Wei isn’t as bad as it could have been but the collective loss of three starters doesn’t bode well under any circumstances. It should also be remembered that this is an away game involving Shanghai. As ever, the Sharks are up against it and with injuries and form, Shanghai will have to rely on contributions from its bench players in search of their first win on the road.