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Guo already looking forward to next World Cup
BEIJING (FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019) - China guard Guo Ailun has one big regret as a professional basketball player. The playmaker did not compete at the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain two years ago.
Four years on from taking part in the event in Turkey, where Guo and his China teammates did just enough to reach the Round of 16 (they advanced after winning a goal differential tie-breaker with Senegal and Puerto Rico), the Far East side's players had to watch events unfold in Spain without them.
They had come up well short of qualification when being knocked out of the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship by Chinese Taipei in the Quarter-Finals.
As the host nation in 2019, China are guaranteed a spot at the FIBA Basketball World Cup and it's there that Guo will be hoping to show the type of performances that earned him a spot on the All-Star Five at the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship.
"We did not qualify for 2014," Guo said. "I feel very bad about that because it is an event to be cherished. It's the highest level of international competition and for me it will be a valuable asset, a rare kind of experience, to play (in 2019).
"I'll hope to be better by then because I have to play a lot of games in the next 1,000 days so I will focus on every game in front of me and accumulate a little bit of experience each time."
Following on from the Rio de Janeiro Games, where China failed to win a game at a second consecutive Olympics, Guo says there is a sense of urgency for the national team to improve.
Guo took it to the basket against Australia in Rio
"China must close the gap on the leading countries before the start of the World Cup," Guo said.
China have had some memorable experiences at FIBA Basketball World Cups. No one will ever forget their dramatic finish to Group Phase play at the event held 10 years ago in Japan.
China, who were coached by Jonas Kazlauskas at the time, needed to beat Slovenia in Sapporo to advance and they did, but just barely.
Uros Slokar put Slovenia ahead when making a jump hook with less than five seconds remaining but China, without calling a timeout, pushed the ball up the floor quickly and Wang Shipeng launched a game-winning three-pointer from a couple of steps behind the arc that went in.