China giant Yi bides time on bench with injuries


SEVEN-FOOT grinder Yi Jianlian watched intently from the bench as China crumbled and then rose to beat gritty Kazakhstan.

Sidelined by hamstring and groin injuries, it may not take long, though, before the skillful NBA big man starts pounding the lanes again for the defending champions in the ongoing Fiba Asia Championship.

“He’s getting better,” said China’s Greek coach Panagiotis Giannakis after they repulsed Kazakhstan, 73-67, in the second round of the Asian championship where three tickets to the 2014 Fiba World Cup are at stake.

This could be ominous for Gilas Pilipinas, which is on a collision course in the quarterfinals  with the Chinese.

“Yi has to come back as soon as possible. For the moment, we’re waiting,” added Giannakis, who engineered Greece’s silver-medal finish in the 2006 Fiba World Championship in Saitama, Japan.

An inside threat with pterodactyl wingspan, Yi was reduced to a passive motivator on the bench against Iran in the opening round and Kazakhstan on Monday night.

In the absence of the former Milwaukee Bucks and Dallas Mavericks power forward, 6-foot-7 slasher Zhou Peng, shooter Wang Shipeng and seven-foot skipper Wang Zhizhi, the first Chinese to play in the NBA, stepped on the plate.

The 25-year-old Yi could still recover in time for the quarterfinals on Friday as the 2011 Asian champion tackles lightweight Bahrain today before the tournament takes a break on Thursday.

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks



latest videos