"We are ready" - Players and coaches embrace CBA's return

Source: Xinhua| 2020-06-06 21:27:44|Editor: huaxia

BEIJING, June 6 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) announced on Thursday that the 2019-2020 league season would resume on June 20 following a nearly five-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 outbreak, prompting players and coaches alike to express their excitement.

"I'm looking forward to the return of the CBA. Fans hope to watch the games. Regardless of the format or whether it is behind closed doors, we just want to play and offer fans matches to watch," said Beijing Ducks guard Jeremy Lin.

While there have been no matches over the past few months, teams have been training in isolation in preparation for a possible resumption.

Jilin Northeast Tigers returned to their training ground in Changchun on February 10.

"During this period, we maintained our training on the basis of anti-virus efforts, focusing on improving players' technique and fitness," said Jilin head coach Wang Han.

"After the league's resumption was confirmed, we made adjustments to our training plan to focus on collective offense and defense and rediscover the form over the next two weeks," he added.

"We are ready all the time," Shandong Heroes head coach Gong Xiaobin noted. "We've been training twice a day, and work on tactics and details in an orderly manner."

"Actually we've been gearing up for the resumption. We are in fine form," noted Beijing Ducks point guard Fang Shuo.

Owing to current restrictions on international travel, many of the CBA's foreign players are unable to return to China in time for the league's restart. Several teams have decided to submit a domestic-only roster when the league resumes.

"Challenge goes along with opportunity for us. Without foreign players, I hope that domestic players can shoulder more responsibility," said Wang Fei, head coach of Shanxi Loongs.

Guangdong Southeast Tigers small forward Zhou Peng hasn't played this season due to a left foot metatarsal fracture sustained before last summer's FIBA World Cup on home soil, making the return to action all the sweeter.

"Good news. Finally it's time to restart. Back to work," he wrote on Sina Weibo.

Meanwhile, Zhejiang Golden Bulls are confident of challenging for a playoff spot, even without their overseas players.

"We haven't changed our target of being among the top eight," said Fang Jun, general manager of Zhejiang.

Fang admitted that it would be a big test for players due to the difference between training and competition.

"We had some scrimmages over the past months, but we need a competitive atmosphere to reflect how the players have fared in training," he said. Enditem