SHENZHEN, China, Oct. 2 (Xinhua) -- Guangdong has gained a lot from a pre-season game against CSKA during the EuroLeague China Tour this week.
The eight-time Chinese basketball champion has found a star player in the 20-year-old Zhao Rui and raised its confidence to take on the best in the new CBA season.
Zhao, playing his first season with the team, scored a team-high 19 point in front of maybe the best defensive line in Europe. With Yi Jianlian leaving the team to join the Los Angeles Lakers, Guangdong is expecting Zhao to step up.
"Zhao is a smart player," said Guangdong head coach Du Feng. "Sometimes he might be a little unstable but he can really do a lot of things."
Du said the team has learned a lot from its 101-75 loss to the EuroLeague champion.
Guangdong had been leading for most of the first period before CSKA needed quite a fight to get the win, with Milos Teodosic on court for 27 minutes. Both teams delivered high-level performances which excited the crowd time and time again.
"It's actually a victory for us, though we are 26 points behind on the scoreboard," Du said. "You don't often have chance to challenge a world-class team such as CSKA, and our players learned a lot."
Du himself has been learning from European basketball. He went to Europe months ago to watch the EuroLeague Final Four games, and also took part in the European coach clinic.
Guangdong has acquired former NBA All-Star Carlos Boozer in the new season, and the team is ready to fight for its ninth CBA title.
EuroLeague China Tour ended with two victories for CSKA, but the influence in China is far beyond the results.
The games attracted generous coverage by CCTV, Tencent and LeTV, the three main sports broadcasters in China. EuroLeague China also scheduled a series of social activities and a basketball coach clinic.
"It's very important for us to develop our league together with CBA," said EuroLeague CEO Jordi Bertomeu.