China's national basketball team goes down to Russia 58-53 on Wednesday. [Photo: sports.eastday.com]
Du Feng's basketball team has finished the BRICS Games as runner-up, having suffered its first and only loss at the tournament with a 58-53 defeat at the hands of Russia.
However there is still a lot of positives as they discover more about what they can do as a team.
CRI's Fu Yu has more from Guangzhou.
China came up against its strongest opponent - Russia - in the final game of the basketball event at the BRICS Games.
Coach Du Feng warned that Russia would give them a hard time, and Chinese players were plagued by errors, and committed fouls that were not always necessary.
Du Feng says the young guards who stole the show the previous night had a dip in form but still did their job well.
"Tonight's game offered young players valuable experience. Many of them got a taste of what it is like playing in such games. But our guards had too many errors, and when they occur too often it really hurt us. But still, we limited Russia to within 60 points which I consider a very good result."
Russia occupied the top podium of the basketball event at the BRICS Games. South Africa and India finished 3rd and 4th respectively behind China, while Brazil was absent.
Next up for Du and his Chinese team is the Asia Cup in August which will put them to the true test.
The coach says the BRICS Games have already given him some clues in terms of preparation.
"After these 3 games, I got ideas on the squad's rotations and line-ups for the Asia Cup, where very strong teams such as Australia and New Zealand are also competing. I am now more certain about my selections as I know which players are capable of going up against highly competitive teams and which can do well in Asia basketball. It is a great help."
One of the hopefuls for making Du's cut is 19-year old Hu Jinqiu who was called up to serve the Chinese squad for the first time.
Hu is having his head among the clouds but keeping his feet on the ground.
"This is my first time to play for China's national team. The most important thing is for me to work hard so I can stay. I will try to play to my strengths and make up for my deficiencies. I'm still young, there is so much I need to learn. I will follow the coach's instructions and train hard to maintain a positive mentality when faced with difficulties."
China has been grouped with Iran, Japan, Indonesia and India for the Asia Cup to be held in Beirut, Lebanon.
For CRI, this is Fu Yu reporting from Guangzhou.