China surged forward in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament quest with an impressive 83-76 victory over Angola in Group M of the Classification 17-32 at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023. This victory marked China’s first win at the tournament and a significant step toward Olympic contention.
Guided by standout performances from Li Kaier, Hu Jinqiu, and Hu Mingxuan, who combined for a remarkable 53 points, China mounted a great comeback from a 10-point deficit with a dominant 24-14 third quarter. This performance showcased China’s resilience and determination to secure a vital victory on the world stage.
The win held even greater significance for China, marking their first-ever triumph over Angola at the FIBA Basketball World Cup. This victory leveled the historical record between the two teams to 3-3, underscoring the intense competition that unfolded on the court.
China was trailing by double digits during the second quarter, but a resolute turnaround after halftime propelled them to take control of the game. With a 61-57 lead in the third quarter, China ignited a game-changing 15-2 run spanning the final two quarters, granting them a 74-59 advantage. While Angola mounted efforts to fight back, China consistently had an answer, maintaining its lead.
Crucially, China’s defense played a pivotal role in the victory, limiting Angola to just 40 percent shooting from the field and a mere 19 percent from beyond the arc. China’sOn the other hand, China’s offence thrived on two-pointers, shooting at an impressive 56 percent. Additionally, their bench contributions were a driving force, contributing 43 points compared to Angola’s 20.
Looking ahead, China’s journey continues as they aim to secure a second consecutive win in their crucial match against fellow Asian contenders on September 2, a game with immense implications for Olympic qualification. Meanwhile, Angola faces regrouping as they prepare to take on South Sudan in an earlier Saturday match.
China’s head coach, Aleksandar Djordjevic, commended his team’s resilience and adaptability after a challenging start: “Our sloppy start was due to a little bit of tension. But after we talked in a couple of timeouts and released some of that and just started playing basketball, we were capable of playing against Angola.”
China’s forward, Hu Jinqiu, expressed determination for the journey ahead: “We followed the game plan and played with our characteristics. We will keep fighting until the end. We have one more game.”
The victory held profound significance for China’s Li Kaier: “It feels great, man. It feels awesome. It’s nice to finally be on the board with such a great group of guys, so we’ll remember this.”
On the opposing side, Angola’s coach, Pep Claros, acknowledged the challenges faced during the match: “We started struggling after 15 minutes. They played zone defense, and we struggled against the zone defense.”
Despite the ups and downs, the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 continues to deliver enthralling basketball action and stories of determination on the global stage.