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PH ready for China

 

By NICK GIONGCO

 

The Philippines attempts to violate China’s ‘no fly zone’ in men’s basketball when the Jordan Clarkson-powered squad attempts to scale the Great Wall on Tuesday in the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia.
With the Philippines formally putting its quest in the quadrennial sportsfest in motion following the opening ceremonies kicking off at the 80,000-capacity Bung Karno Stadium Saturday night, the spotlight continues to fall on the cage team following its rousing 96-59 win over Kazakhstan last Thursday.
Parading 7-1 Zhou Qi of the Houston Rockets and 6-7 Ding Yanyuhang of the Dallas Mavericks and coming off a dominating performance in the 2018 Stankovic Continental Cup in Shenzen, China also boasts of seven-footer Wang Zhelin and five other players who are 6-5 and taller.
But there are reports ciruclating that Ding might not be in tip-top shape after sustaining a knee injury during the pre-Asian Games buildup, according to head coach and former national team member Li Nan.
Still, the Chinese remain not only stratospheric and quick and fluid but vastly-experienced as they faced world powers Croatia and African top team Tunisia last week.
Li refuses to downgrade the other members of the team, saying that every one on the lineup has what it takes to step up to the plate if the need arises.
“Not Ding Yanyuhang, not Zhou Qi, there’s no core player in our team. However, there’s always someone who stands out when the team needs it. That’s what wehave been practicing in recent years,” Li told the Chinese media.
While everyone is beginning to get warmed up, the celebrated women’s volleyball team faces a stern test right away as it meets Southeast Asia’s No. 1 Thailand.
Volleyball officials are upbeat that the Filipinas won’t hand the game to the favored Thais on a silver platter, adding that their stint here will be a testament to their true worth.
Another debutant on Sunday will be the softball team against Hong Kong in a night game.
The Philippines is taking part in 35 sports on tap in the event that lasts until Sept. 2 with boxing, jiujitsu, sailing, canoe-kayak, cycling (BMX), weightlifting, gymnastics, judo and athletics seen as potential medal producers.
There will be 460 gold medals up for grabs in 45 sports and the Philippines, which fielded 272 athletes, is looking to surpass its measly one gold medal production – courtesy of Fil-Am daredevil Daniel Caluag in BMX – the last time in Incheon in 2014.
The last time Indonesia hosted the Asian Games was in 1962.

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