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Wang Quanze saves best for last in China's 3rd place clinching win
NONTHABURI (FIBA U18 Asian Championship) – China came out determined to exact revenge for their loss in the Group Phase and their strong start carried them to a 76-57 win. With this victory, China claims third place in the final standings of the FIBA U18 Asian Championship.
Wang Quanze seemed specifically fired up for the showdown and didn’t wait to get things going. In the first quarter alone, Wang outscored the entire Philippines team with 15 points as China took a 27-14 lead.
“After the first quarter, I was definitely confident,” Wang said after the game. “I mean I was confident before the game and everything, but after the first quarter I knew that I was in my rhythm. I knew that we had to get the win to prove that we’re the better team.”
In their first matchup, Wang had three fouls in the opening stance which limited his performance the entire game that resulted in a loss for China. Wang stood his ground in the rematch and finished the game with only two fouls in total. The team and Wang came into this game with a chip on their shoulders and pulled through.
“Last game, we lost and it was tough for us and for me personally,” Wang expressed. “Today in the locker room, I just told our guys that we had to get the win. First, because they beat us last time and we had to prove that we’re a better team in Asia.”
“Second of all, we want to get on the stage and get the medal. I think that was really important for us and I’m glad that we got the win.”
China put down the clamps again in the second quarter and held the Philippines scoreless for the entire first five minutes. They had struggled to contain the Philippines big men, Sotto and Edu, in the first match but went back to work to make sure that didn’t happen again.
“This time, we were definitely better defensively,” says Wang. “We talked more and offensively we were definitely more aggressive. Everyone was sharing the ball and talking."
“We were almost talking the whole game and it was good for us.”
Wang’s background leading up to this tournament differed from the other players on the squad. He had spent the past 4 years sharpening his skills at Materdei High School in California and that experience groomed him to be ready to step up as a vocal leader on this team.
“A lot of our guys are shy and don’t talk much on the court,” Wang says. “Every new team that I go to, I always try to be the guy that gets everyone involved into the targeting the same goal. So when I first came and realised that not a lot of people will talk, especially on the court, I just had to get them all in the right mindset to go towards our goal.”
The Philippines manage to cut the lead down to 10 in the third quarter, but Team China simply gathered themselves and battled together to rally and finish the game with a 76-57 win.
Wang finished with 27 points, 14 rebounds and an efficiency rating of 35, making it arguably his best game of the tournament. It’s been a long full week of basketball for Wang and he’s come out as one of the best players with averages of 20.0 points, 13.0 rebounds, and 3.6 assists.
“I’m exhausted man,” Wang accepts with a light chuckle. “It’s definitely a fun experience and it was a great experience for me. As a student-athlete, I’ve never played 7 games in 7 days so that was tough for me. It was a challenge but I’m glad that we pulled it off and we got third place.”
The question now is what’s next for Wang Quanze. Will fans be seeing him rise to the Senior Men’s National Team squad some time soon alongside the likes of Guo Ailun and Zhou Qi?
“I think it’ll come,” Wang says hopefully. “If I want to be on the team, I have to prove that I’m going to be capable of doing it. Next year, I’ll be in college playing in the NCAA and it’ll be a whole different experience. Whatever it takes from there, we’ll see.”