CHINESE stars Yi Jianlian, Guo Ailun, and Wang Zhelin have pulled out from the national team training due to injuries.
In a report by CGTN Sports Scene, the trio have left the team's bubble ahead of the third window of the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers in Clark and the Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Victoria, Canada.
The three would have brought starpower for China, which is seeking to reclaim the gold medal it last won in the continental tilt in 2015 in Changsha.
It would have also marked Yi's return to competition after missing the past season of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) due to an Achilles injury.
Guo was also instrumental in Liaoning Flying Leopards' second place finish in the past CBA season, while Wang was the top gun for the Fujian Sturgeons.
The pullouts bring down China's pool to 19 players for its grueling four games in five days schedule inside the Clark bubble.
Nonetheless, it's still a potent Chinese crew led by four players from the CBA champions Guangdong Southern Tigers, namely Finals MVP Hu Mingxuan, Defensive Player of the Year Zhou Peng, Ren Junfei and Xu Jie, as well as head coach Du Feng.
Runner-up Liaoning also has representatives in Han Dejun, Zhao Jiwei, and Zhang Zhenlin, while China is also banking on NBA G League Ignite-commit Zeng Fanbo and University of Pennsylvania product Wang Quanze.
Also part of the list are 2021 Domestic MVP Wu Qian and Lu Wenbo (Zhejiang Golden Bulls); Zhou Qi and Yu Dehao (Xinjiang Flying Tigers); CBA Most Improved Player Gao Shiyan (Shandong Heroes); Liu Chuanxing (Qingdao Eagles); Sun Minghui and Zhao Yanhao (Zhejiang Lions); Shen Zijie (Shenzhen Aviators); and Zhu Mingzhen (Guangzhou Loong Lions).
China earlier cut Guangdong's Du Runwang, Xinjiang's Qi Lin, Shenzhen's He Xining, Zhejiang's Yu Jiahao, and Wang Shaojie of the Beijing Royal Fighters as it continues to trim down its initial 27-man pool.
The Chinese team has yet to play in Group B of the qualifiers as the global COVID-19 pandemic wiped out its games since February 2020.
China is set to lock horns with Japan on June 16 and 19, and Chinese Taipei on June 17 and 20, with only the top two nations in the group booking a spot in the continental tilt.
They will also play in the OQT in Victoria, Canada, where awaiting them are Greece and hosts Canada.
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