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    Passing of the torch: Wang hopes China teen will be Asia's next dominant star

    Aug 2, 2013

    WHILE trailblazing Chinese center Wang Zhizhi wishes to bow out of the Fiba-Asia tournament with another championship, he also hopes to see the youthful Wang Zhelin become the next dominant Asian big man.

    The 36-year-old Wang, who has represented China since his teenage days in the mid-1990s, teamed up with the 19-year-old Wang Zhelin in beating Malaysia to a pulp, 113-22 on Friday as NBA veteran Yi Jianlian sat out to rest his hamstring and groin injuries.

    With Li out, Wang took the opportunity to showcase his basketball skills against an awe-struck Malaysian squad as he finished with 21 points, eight rebounds and two blocks in just 22 minutes of play.

    “He is a very good player,” Wang Zhizhi said of the seven-foot teenager. “He’s got the body, the size and the skills. But hopefully, he can work harder and become a very good player in the future.”

    Wang Zhizhi was the first Chinese player to ever play in the NBA after being drafted in the second round by the Dallas Mavericks in 2001.

    His blazed a trail for other Chinese players like big man Mengke Bateer and Yang Ming, who joined world's most popular basketball league after emerging as the No. 1 overall pick via the Houston Rockets.

    While both Wangs were hardly challenged by the Malaysians, the real test takes place on Saturday when the Chinese tangle with the highly physical Iranians led by 7-2 slotman Hamed Haddadi and Nikkhah Nahrami Mohhamad Sammad.

    It may be an early test for lean Wang Zhelin, who is expected to get banged up by Haddadi, the tournament MVP of the 2007 and 2009 Fiba-Asia editions.

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