Meet the Asia Cup 2022 Teams: China
JAKARTA (Indonesia) - China have a long history of winning in the FIBA Asia Cup. Now that they’re back once again for the event in Jakarta, opposing teams should be ready to face one of the most successful national team programs in the history of the competition.
Let’s take a quick moment to meet China in this "Meet the Teams" series!
World Rank according to FIBA World Ranking Presented by Nike: 29
China has dropped two spots in the World Ranking since the start of the Asia Cup Qualifiers, but have remained at 4 among teams in Asia & Oceania.
There’s no point for fans to concern over their spot in the rankings yet, but they will have to maintain their level of play.
Asia Cup Debut: 1975
China first played in the Asia Cup in Bangkok, Thailand back in 1975. They didn’t waste any time announcing their dominance and blasted through all 9 games to win Gold on their very first try.
They beat their opponents by an average of 30.4 points per game, with third place Korea putting up the closest fight to by “only” 19 points.
Asia Cup Appearances (including 2022): 23
Chinese have not missed an Asia Cup ever since making their debut.
This should not come as a surprise to Asia Cup fans who are familiar with how successful China have been in the competition.
Most Recent Appearance: 2017
However, 2017 might not be the best point of reference about China’s dominance and success.
Right off the bat, they lost to rivals Philippines in a rematch of the Asia Cup 2015 Final. Even though they were able to bounce back and make it to the Quarter-Finals, they only barely did so by beating Iraq by one point and Syria by two points.
They faced the wrath of eventual champions Australia in the Quarter-Finals and bowed out of title contention. Even though China would go on to finish 5th, it was an ending that falls a bit short compared to their past success.
Best Position in Final Standings: Champions (16 times)
That’s because China are the all-time leaders in Asia Cups won with a whopping 16 (!!!) in total. Considering that there have been only 29 editions, China have won more than half of all Asia Cups ever played - and that’s without playing in the first 7 editions.
China won their first five Asia Cups consecutively, then finished at third in 1985. Then they won five more Asia Cups consecutively, and then finished at third again in 1997. After winning four straight Asia Cups following that, it’s been a bit of an up-and-down roller coaster by China’s standard.
They’ve bounced around from finishing 10th to back-to-back Final appearances to missing the Semi-Finals to a championship and back to missing the Semi-Finals in 2017.
All in all, the success is undeniable.
Notable Player(s): Yao Ming
Throughout the course of all 16 Asia Cup titles, there have been plenty of China national team legends.
The one legend that arguably had the biggest impact ever is Yao Ming. The global superstar played in 3 Asia Cups right in the middle of his prime and dominated the competition with 24 straight wins during that regin.
Yao won MVP in all three Asia Cups he played in, scoring 18.7 points per game.
Again, China have had many stars suit up for the national team in the FIBA Asia Cup and will have many more… but so far it doesn’t seem like anyone will reach the status that Yao Ming achieved.
How they got here:
China went undefeated through the Asia Cup Qualifiers, which included two wins in intense games against Japan.
They were able to mix in some young up-and-comers like Hu MingXuan and Zhang Zhenlin, though veterans like Zhou Peng and Zhou Qi were also a part of the run.
Current Outlook: Determined
China are still very strong and Asia Cup contenders with the quality of players that they have in their talent pool.
But right now is the time that they need to assert their strength on opposing teams after a less than desirable finish at World Cup 2019 and missing the Tokyo Olympics. China have been impressive so far both in the Asia Cup Qualifiers and the World Cup Qualifiers and will just have to keep it up when tipoff time for the Asia Cup comes.
China have never missed an appearance in the Final in two consecutive Asia Cups… and they probably wouldn’t want to start at Asia Cup 2022.