China gets first win, beats Angola to put more pressure on Gilas’ Olympic bid

Kyle Anderson China Fiba World Cup

China’s Kyle Anderson against Angola in the Fiba World Cup classification. -MARLO CUETO/

MANILA, Philippines — China took down Angola, 83-76, to finally earn its first win in the Fiba World Cup 2023 and jumpstart its classification phase campaign on a high note on Thursday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The breakthrough victory of the Chinese that ended their three-game skid also put Gilas Pilipinas’ Olympics hopes in limbo ahead of their duel on Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

China joined Japan as the only Asian teams with a win in the Fiba World Cup so far as the Chinese improved to a 1-3 record in Group M, tying Angola.

“It was much needed. We finally were able to play hard for 40 minutes. That’s very key to success and our victory here so we gotta go out and do it again against the Philippines,” Kyle Anderson, who also goes by his Chinese name Li Kai-Er, told reporters.

The Minnesota Timberwolves forward Anderson put up 17 points including the finishing touches on top of seven rebounds and four assists. 

The Dragons used a second-half surge to break a 45-45 tie at the break, as Hu Jinqiu and Hu Mingxuan combined for 19 of China’s 24-point outburst in the third quarter to build a 10-point lead, 69-59, heading to the payoff period.

China unleashed a 15-5 run from the final minute of the third until the last five minutes of the fourth capped by Jinqiu’s putback slam for their biggest lead of the game, 16 points, 78-62.

Antonio Monteiro and Gerson Goncalves sank back-to-back treys to trim the deficit to 10, 78-68, with 4:22 left but Anderson kept his team afloat with his clutch layups and never looked back to win their first classification game.

Jinqui sparked China from the bench and led the charge with 20 points, three rebounds, and two assists. Mingxuan scored nine of his 16 points in the third, while Zhou Qi added 10 points.

“I think a lot of bench players stepped up and they brought energy, they played hard for us, some shots fell for everybody and everybody contributed so that’s big time,” said Anderson after his team drew 43 points from the bench.

Angola banked on Childe Dundao’s 17 points and eight-assist outing and Bruno Fernando, who posted 16 points and six rebounds. Silvio De Sousa had 13 points and nine boards, while Jilson Bango added 10 markers and seven rebounds.

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