DAY 3, 4 and 5  

Well after a well deserved couple of days break after our first victory, the team has bonded by chatting to the local dvd stores and bartering them to the lowest prices possible. For the guys who are on their first trip they will no longer need their blockbuster memberships as many many quality dvds were purchased. For those who have been before, they just buy for the thrill of getting them cheap.  

The Dongguan city were we were staying, didn’t really have the markets like Shanghai or Beijing, but we also filled in time by getting massages (a.k.a rubens), at the ridiculous price of 100 yuan ($20 AUD) for 90 minute full body!! That is great going for post game recovery and to get us primed for our next meeting with Dongguan New Century (that is the team name…so simple)!!!

Game two versus Dongguan was filled with a lot of anticipation.  Again we were playing on television so another estimated audience of 100 million were tuning in to watch da show!  Also, we were playing them at their main home stadium which might I add was sensational.  It would’ve held about 6000 spectators and was about 80% full.  This meant they had their home crowd behind them and that means lots of loud drums, yelling and clapping!  Great atmosphere but made the challenge even tougher.  

The game did not exactly start as we planned.  They came out with so much more intensity and physicality and we were not prepared for this.  They wanted to show their home crowd they were for real and the first quarter proved this.  Down by 11 (31-20) at the first break, the mastermind Drewey was pulling his silver locks out which looked hilarious on the big screen at the venue hahaha.  However, we continued to play bucket for bucket in the second quarter which is not the way to get back in a game.  We went into half time break still down 11 (54-43) with some soul searching to do!  

After some stern words and encouragement from Gazey and Matty ‘zoom zoom’ Ferris, we came out a different team early in the third.  However, it wasn’t until half way through the third when Sedale ‘po-lo’ Threatt, Mark ‘tassie devil’ Banovic and Dan ‘throw it down’ George showed some spark and gave us the lift we desperately needed.  This got everyone fired up which lead to us getting the lead down to one at the last break (76-75).  The momentum was clearly swinging our way and they looked to be tiring which was definitely in our favour due to our depth.  

The last quarter was awesome!!!!  Everyone got involved and our intensity was phenomenal.  We looked like a team that had been playing together for years as we all did our part to get the lead and continue to dominate at both ends.  Hobba was again standout on the boards with 14, but it was Sedale, Mark and Dan who lead the scoring with 22, 19 and 15 respectively.  I was happy to hit my first three much to Bing’s (our sponsor/agent) pleasure haha.  Seven of us were in double figures and no-one went scoreless, which again shows the amount of talent I am lucky enough to be playing with.  Once we extended the lead to almost twenty points, the game was over and we could see the disappointment on the oppositions faces.  We closed out the game with a 45-21 last quarter to run out victors 120-97.  Needless to say we were all extremely happy with the win and take out the mini two game series 2-0.   

After the game we were mobbed in our changeroom by the local supporters and ‘peak’ associates.  We signed many autographs but they all seemed to love Iggy ‘the handsome boy’ Hadziomerovic, as they flocked to him like he was one of the Beatles.  We headed back to the hotel and watched the replay of the game together in the dining hall on the big screen.  We had a laugh at some of the replays especially my efforts in trying to help Mark explain ‘flopping’ to the refs.  Put it this way, I went up and talked to one of the refs and he put his hand on me and I did the greatest flop of all time much to the crowds enjoyment!!!   

We flew out early this morning to Hangzhou (close to Shanghai) and have a rest day before playing back to back games versus Zhejiang Horses which are said to include two ex-nba imports.  It’s all good though, we’ll put the shackles on ’em aussie style haha.  Will touch base after our next two games.  

That’s all for now, you stay classy… Australia.   Gezza

DAY 1 and 2

After Finally getting our itinery finalised we jetted out at the suitable time of 12 midnight!!!! Having only one practice together it was still touch and go whether we would have enough time to gel together as a team. Once we arrived in Hong Kong we had to get a ferry ride into China. After some worried faces, namely Sedale, we all boarded the rusty titanic and took the two hour ride to picturesque China!
We finally arrived at our destination of Zhongshan all tired and ready for some sleep and then hopefully some dvdahhh shopping. The food was not exactly what you call ‘aussie delicacies’ which include fried pigeon, fried chicken heads, cat fish freshly caught and Dallas’ favourite funghi, but lucky for us we hit maccas which was convieniently next door to the hotel, the diet of an athlete!
Game time arrived and after only two training sessions, we hit the court with the wisdom of the masterful coach in Andrew Gaze. We got out to a good start but the opposition team were excellent shooters.  They are not the most physical players but they sure can shoot the piss out of the ball!  Everyone in our team got an opprtunity to play and from the lack of preparation, we looked like a well drilled team in parts.  Sedale Threatt, Ash Cannan, Brent Hobba, Andrew Rice and myself started, with Sedale slicing up the defence at will.  I could not hit the side of a barn much to dreweys displeasure, but with Hobba and Rice mopping up all the rebounds we were alright.  Add to that Ash Cannan faking the whole of China with some of his moves, the quarter time scores were high at 30 a piece.  With an estimated 130 million viewers watching the game (as it was telecast live throughout the Guandong province) it was nothing new to me after playing at the packed snakepit haha!  16 year old sensation Iggy Hadziomerovic played well beyond his experience, Andrew Harms was as tough as a monkeys fist, Daniel George scored at will and Mark Banovic played well considering Greco ‘the roman wrestling’ physio plastered his left leg after he mentioned a slight soreness in his his achillies.  Add to that Dallas who I heard hates a fade-away jumper, and the team was rolling no matter who was on court.  Anyway, throughout a see-sawing affair, the game came down to the last minute where we ended up getting up by 4 points.  Hobba ended up with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Rice, Cannan had 13 and Iggy chimed in for a nifty 12.  Good to get the first win in China!
We are now off to another town to play the same team in two nights so we’ll let you know how we go.
P.S We are looking forward to game 2……this time its personal!