Zhou Qi announces his arrival on big stage in style
CHANGSHA-HUNAN (2015 FIBA Asia Championship) – Teenage sensation Zhou Qi announced his arrival on the stage, providing the star turnaround for China to win 76-73 against East Asian archrivals Korea, but shrugged off the sparkling performance on his maiden appearance in a FIBA Asia Championship saying: "I’m glad I came good when the team needed me to."
"The important thing is we won. Now we need to keep the momentum," the 19-year-old Xinjiang center, who scored 13 of his team-high 21 points in the final quarter, said.
"I think we made some mistakes in the first half. We were not playing badly at all. But just that things were not happening the way we wanted to," Zhou Qi said pointing to China’s lowly 33% shooting in field attempts in the first half, which improved to a slightly healthy 40% by the time game finished.
Zhou Qi himself had a 5/6 clip in field shooting in the fourth quarter, finishing with a 9/14 in field attempts.
"The coach told us to just relax and calm down (in the locker room at the end of the first half)," he said.
China coach Gong Luming did have special words of praise for the teenager.
"Everybody knows his talent and potential. It has been that way for a long time now. Today he showed he can handle pressure also," Gong Luming said.
"In fact the biggest take away for us from this game is our ability to handle pressure.
"We are a team in transition. We have a great mix of young and experienced players. Games like this help us combine better. And of course winning it is a big bonus," he said.
Korea coach Kim Dong Kwang too attributed the turn in fortunes to Zhou Qi’s performance.
"I think the youngster showed his mettle today. He has a great future," the coach said.