Talk rife China’s Greek coach on way out | Inquirer Sports
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Talk rife China’s Greek coach on way out

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 01:11 AM August 11, 2013

“DARKEST day in China basketball history.”

This was the poignant headline in one Chinese daily a day after the dethroned champions lost to Chinese Taipei and the chance to secure one of three continental slots to the 2014 Fiba World Cup in Spain.

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It could also be one of the darkest moments in the coaching career of China’s Greek mentor, Giannakis Panagiotis.

“He might be fired,” a Chinese sportswriter who requested not to be named told the
Inquirer Friday.

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Taiwan’s amazing 96-78 blowout win in the quarterfinals on Friday night sparked rumors that Giannakis is on the way out.

While the Taiwanese victory set off a huge celebration back home, the 2011 Asian champions are now staring at their worst finish ever in the tournament.

According to Liu Jingwen of Chinese website QQ.com, Chinese players are at odds with Giannakis, whose team has been struggling to embrace his European style of coaching.

“Our players have yet to adjust to the system that coach Giannakis has been implementing,” said Liu. “There are two voices in China basketball. One voice wants him out while the other wants to give him a chance.”

The proud winner of 15 Asian championship titles since 1975, China had its worst finish in the tournament in 2007 in Tokushima, Japan. The Chinese—who had already qualified to play in the Olympics as hosts of the 2008 Summer Games—placed 10th after sending their cadet team.

“If you want to change something, you have to suffer and stay focused,” said Giannakis, who steered Greece to a second-place finish in the 2006 Fiba World Championship in Japan. “There’s a lot of work to be done. We can do it if we play smart and with a lot of passion.”

China pulled off a scary 79-76 win over Jordan in the classification round yesterday. The Chinese face the winner between Kazakhstan or Qatar today for fifth place.

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TAGS: 2013 Fiba Asia Championship, 2014 Fiba World Cup, Basketball, China, FIBA Asia, Giannakis Panagiotis
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