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China's Guo geared up for the challenges in Beirut

BEIJING (FIBA Asia Cup 2017) - Guo Ailun is the spark that ignites China's fire. An All-Star Five selection at the FIBA Asia Cup 2015 in Changsha, he'll have to be at his best if the Chinese are going to defend their crown in Beirut next month.

The 23-year-old point guard is excited about the challenge, especially as both Australia and New Zealand will be taking part in the event for the first time.

6 Ailun Guo (CHN) - Serbia v China, 2016 Olympic Games: Tournament for Men (BRA), Rio de Janeiro - Carioca Arena 1 (Brazil), Group Phase, 14 August 2016
"Team China has valued the FIBA Asia Cup every time," Guo said to FIBA.basketball, "and this year, Team Australia and New Zealand will participate so I think it is an important milestone in the development of basketball in Asia."

China have yet to announce their final roster but if Guo is included, it will help their cause. He always wants to put on the China jersey.

"I'm willing to devote myself to this important event and to work with the team to achieve good results," he said.

It's not only the newcomers, the Boomers and Tall Blacks, that Guo is looking forward to going up against in Lebanon. The hair on the back of his neck also stands up when he thinks about taking on the Philippines again. The teams will meet in Group B on August 9.

Gilas made it to the Final in 2015 before falling to China. Guo had 19 points and 6 rebounds in that victory.

"Team Philippines have improved a lot in recent years," Guo said. "I'm looking forward to meeting them in the FIBA Asia Cup and I believe it will be a marvelous game."

The biggest threat to China's supremacy is likely to come from Australia, though.

The country was among the best at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and beat China in the Preliminary Round. They ended up falling by just a single point to Spain in the Bronze Medal Game. David Andersen was a member of that Boomers team and will be in Beirut, as will former Olympian Brad Newley.

"Team Australia is a very good team in the world," Guo said. "I think the reforming of the competition system, Team Australia and New Zealand joined in the Asia Cup which will definitely promote and integrate the Asian basketball development."

China will also face Iraq and Qatar in Group B.

Source: http://www.fiba.com/asiacup/2017/news/chinas-guo-geared-up-for-the-challenges-in-beirut

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