2019 FIBA World Cup qualifying: Red Team outclasses Hong Kong 96-44
By Wang Meng
Chinese National Basketball's Red Team faced little trouble in a dominant 96-44 win over Hong Kong at home in Nanjing, east China in their Group A opener of 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifier on Thursday.
As tournament hosts, the Red Team is automatically in, but will still play the qualifiers as warm-up games.
National team veterans Xiralijan Muhtar and Wang Zhelin spearheaded the charge at the Gymnasium of Youth Olympic Games Sport Park, with the Xinjiang guard scoring a game-high 17 points and the Fujian center finishing with 11 points and 11 rebounds, respectively. As for Hong Kong, Liang Man Hung and Duncan Reid combined for 25 points.
This is the first big tournament for the Red Team since the national side was split into two separate squads, Blue and Red, in the run-up to the tournament in 2019. 
Xiralijan nailed five triples in 18 minutes of action to pace China Red Team. / VCG Photo

Xiralijan nailed five triples in 18 minutes of action to pace China Red Team. / VCG Photo

But the 16-man roster, which is coached by Li Nan, is troubled by several injuries. Zhao Rui, Zhao Jiwei, and Zhai Xiaochuan are all unable to make the trip.
The Red Team built a commanding 32-16 lead after the first quarter and never looked back.
"Most of my teammates are young, and we need to work on our chemistry," China’s guard Fang Shuo said. "But we must show our tenacity and fighting spirit on court. I believe we achieved that today."
In another game in Group A, Jeon Jun Beom hit a total of six three-pointers en route to finishing with 22 points as South Korea prevailed over New Zealand on the road, 86-80.
Up next for the Red Team is South Korea, they will play at the Goyang Gymnasium. Hong Kong, meanwhile, hosts New Zealand at the Southorn Stadium on November 26, 2017.