CUBA season kicks off in Beijing with Peking University win
DEC . 13 2019
The new season of the Chinese University Basketball Association (CUBA) officially kicked off on Saturday night, with Peking University crushing Capital University of Economics and Business 80-65 in the opening game.
With thousands of fans roaring, the season opener between the two teams from Beijing began at the home court of Capital University of Economics and Business (CUEB). Just like the professionals in the CBA, the players made full use of every second to show off their skills.
Peking University played without their championship star Wang Shaojie but were able to make a bright start. The two sides battled hard throughout in the neck and neck fight until Zhang Ning got Peking on a roll in the final quarter. The shooting guard scored a game-high 30 points and helped Peking win the season-opener in style.
Zhang later said: "Actually in this game, what we wanted to show the most was our passion in front of the fans and others. We played according to what we practiced during the winter training period. No special tactics in this opening game, but it was important to show our passion and effort on defense."
After his impressive start to the campaign, Zhang could fill the spot left by Wang who was drafted first overall by the CBA's Beikong this summer. Wang definitely inspired those who hoped to turn professional in the future as Peking University shooting guard Zhang mentioned that he has got "Confidence! Great confidence!"
Luo Wenjun from the losing side told reporters: "In recent years, the examples of Wang Shaojie and Wang Shengwei have broadened the future path for student players. Their presence in the CBA encourages and urges us to keep working hard."
At the press conference before the opening game, CUBA shared some positive data including an increasing number of students and fans participating in sports at college. The 22nd CUBA season will stick to the format of 32 teams which was first set up last year following the basketball reform led by CBA president and NBA Hall of Famer Yao Ming. Students are trying to seize the opportunity of getting on the train to professional basketball.
CUEB small forward Luo remarked: "I do think about reaching the CBA through the draft. I think all CUBA players have that as a goal, but it's something that you cannot focus on too much. You need to go step by step and play every game with the right attitude. It would be good to be in the CBA, but if I'm not able to go pro, I have no regrets."
Around 700,000 fans followed CUBA games last season. And with Wang now a key part of Stephon Marbury's Beikong team, more students have higher hopes of continuing on the court after college.