Guangdong survives Beijing’s best shot, advances to CBA finals

Society & Culture

The Beijing Ducks, in their best two-out-of-three series in the CBA semifinals, managed to snap the Guangdong Southern Tigers' winning streak at 31 games. The teams' three games all came down to the wire.

Beijing player hunches over while Guangdong celebrates making the CBA finals
Guangdong beats Beijing 88-85 to clinch its best two-out-of-three series to advance to the CBA finals. Photo by Xinhua/Li Ziheng

Jeremy Lin’s CBA dream came to an end this weekend after a nail-biting finish to the third and final game between Lin’s Beijing Ducks and the Guangdong Southern Tigers in the CBA semifinals.

The 88-85 loss will be a tough one to take for the 31-year-old, especially after the American missed a shot at the buzzer that would have sent the game into overtime.

The game itself was close throughout, with Lin and teammate Ekpe Udoh doing their best to keep their team in the game. It was 37-37 at halftime, with both men scoring eight points each.

But Guangdong simply proved to be the stronger team — the defender champs who lost only twice in the regular season, and had been riding a 31-game winning streak until its Game 2 loss to the Ducks.

Here are the Game 3 highlights:

Following the loss, Lin left the door open to a potential return to the NBA. In an Instagram post, the California native thanked the basketball club for the opportunity and his teammates: “Thank you to the Beijing Ducks for giving me this opportunity. Thank you to my teammates for giving it their all, for embracing me and being open to doing things a different way. Thank you to coach @jwafan for coming with me on this journey in so many different ways. THANK YOU to the fans who follow and support me, no matter where I’m playing.”

Lin has been a focal point for his team this year, without ever setting the world alight. We may not have seen the return of Linsanity, but for a player who was a free agent and at “rock-bottom” after a championship-winning season with Toronto, Lin has proved that he can offer more in his career.

For Beijing Ducks fans, this loss will hurt. While Guangdong was always the favorite, Ducks fans will lament letting a 19-point fourth-quarter lead in Game 1 slip away. Beijing was up two points and had the ball with 4 seconds remaining, but a turnover by Fāng Shuò 方硕 led to a Sonny Weems buzzer-beater to force overtime. Check it out:


Li slips in PGA Championship after 2nd round lead

China’s top-ranked golfer, Lǐ Hàotóng 李昊桐, gave many Chinese golf fans reason to be optimistic for his future after a solid performance at the recently concluded PGA Championship.

Li shot a bogey-free 65 to take a clubhouse lead on the second day of play at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco. Despite finding the fairway only four times during his second round, his cool approach play and decent short game was the difference. After two rounds, he stood at eight-under, the best score in the tournament.

Unfortunately, the 25-year-old Hunan native struggled in blustery conditions on the third day, which saw him hack around the course in 73 strokes.

A solid final round of 69 pushed Li’s clubhouse score to six-under, tied for 17th place.

Li will take a lot out of this tournament for the future. His finish is his best result in the PGA Championship, a major that notoriously favors American players. The 17th place is also his third-highest finish in a major, after a 16th place in 2018 at the U.S. Open and third place at the British Open in 2017. Finding consistency for a full four days of play will be essential for the Chinese star if he wants to crack the upper echelons of the golf world.

Li also had to face questions about one of his main cap sponsors, WeChat. The Chinese messaging platform has come under scrutiny in the U.S. following Donald Trump’s decision to use an executive order to restrict app.

“I don’t know. Who knows?” Li told reporters when he was asked if the ban on the messaging service would affect him.


Title Chinese smartphone sponsor pulls out of India’s IPL

Chinese smartphone company Vivo and cricket’s Indian Premier League (IPL) announced on Thursday that their partnership would be suspended as the Indian boycott of Chinese products continues.

The IPL is one of the world’s wealthiest sports leagues and is the premier domestic short-format cricket league. With around a billion eyes on the tournament each year, the IPL has become a serious part of India’s cricketing culture and a commercial behemoth.

The league has seen sponsorships from Chinese companies over the years, with Oppo one of the first major Chinese companies to become a commercial partner in the league.

Budget Chinese-made smartphones have been prevalent in India as they offer an affordable and accessible choice to Indian consumers. However, as tensions continue to rise on the border between the two Asian superpowers, the backlash against Chinese products has become fierce.

Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president and former Indian test captain Sourav Ganguly dismissed reports that the league would take a substantial financial hit this year following the cancellation of the title sponsor.

Vivo signed a five-year title sponsorship deal in 2018 for around $60 million per year with the league.

The China Sports Column runs every week on SupChina.