As seen from the preliminary round, the 2014 version of the FIBA Asia Cup has been perfect platform for rising Asia basketball stars to shine.
While highly scouted players such as 25-year old Paul Lee from the Philippines, 21-year old Ahmad Al-Dwairi from Jordan or 23-year old Liu Cheng from Chinese Taipei have had their chances to impress, Singapore is not short on its rising stars – Wong Wei Long and Delvin Goh, who have managed to turn some heads as well.
The greatest spotlight, however, falls on 18-year old Chinese Centre Zhou Qi.
At a mere age of 18 years old, the Chinese teenager already stands at an imposing 7’2, and he hasn’t stopped growing. Touted as China’s next Yao Ming, he is the nation’s top prospect and best bet for a NBA star in the few years to come.
The young centre is currently averaging 11.3 points and 6.5 rebounds for the tournament, but he is ranked 1st on the Index of Success Chart at 73, of which Singapore’s Wong Wei Long is ranked 7 at 55. What is more, the young centre is topped in the league in total shot blocks, recording 13 blocks in the tournament to date.
Tonight, Zhou Qi and China will match up against Singapore in the 5th FIBA Asia Cup Quarter-finals. Not only are they the current top team in this tournament, but they will also have home ground advantage and their nation backing them to avenge their early exit in last year’s FIBA Asia Qualifiers against Iran. We can expect them to come out swinging.
Standing in Zhou Qi and China’s path is FIBA Asia Cup’s first-timer, Singapore. And the man tasked to guard 7’2 Zhou Qi is none other than Singapore’s top prospect 6’7 Delvin Goh.
Delvin Goh has exceeded expectations, holding his ground against the likes of Ahmad Al-Dwairi from Jordan, Marcus Douhit from the Philippines and Quincy Davis from Chinese Taipei. Thus far, he has been effective on the defensive end holding his centre opponents to no more than 12 points (from Al-Dwairi) in the first game.
Tonight, he faces another tough challenge against Zhou Qi.
While Zhou Qi may be the player with the greater upside, at this stage, we believe that Delvin Goh does stand a good chance pitting his skills against the Chinese Centre. Here’s a quick analysis of how they would go head-to-head:
Zhou is no doubt the better overall scorer averaging 11.3 points to Delvin’s 5.3. Zhou has also shot the ball very well and at a very high percentage of 57.1%, while Delvin has struggled to convert his shots, shooting the ball at only 28.6%. Offensively speaking, Zhou is still raw and does not possess polished post moves that Delvin has shown glimpses of in this tournament. However, Zhou’s ability to shoot the ball from the outside makes him difficult to guard at this stage.
While standing tall at 7’2, one of Zhou’s strengths is his quick-feet that makes him a lot more mobile than most big men today. Similarly, Delvin Goh is not short on athleticism, and has been able to run the floor and operate effectively in Singapore’s motion offense.
Zhou has 5kg more than Delvin’s 90kg frame. However, it is the Singapore big man that possesses greater upper body strength and stability compared to Zhou. Zhou has the knack of getting pushed around by bigger and stronger opponents, but Delvin has held his own against seemingly stronger guys in this tournament.
Both Zhou and Delvin are great inside presences for their respective teams. With his length, Zhou has been a fearsome shot-blocking presence. However, the top shot-blocker thus far is none other than Delvin Goh himself who averages 4 blocks a game to Zhou’s 2.6! Delvin with his lateral quickness has shown to be able to cover pick-and-rolls well, while Zhou has yet to develop in this area. Delvin has proven himself also to be a thief in this tournament, averaging 1.3 steals per game(the best amongst big men), while Zhou is not far behind with 1.0 per game.
Zhou Qi vs Delvin Goh!
Who will come out top in this match-up? We shall know tonight, when Singapore takes on Asia powerhouse China, 730 pm, at the Wuhan Sports Centre.
Catch up the livestats of the game with this link: http://www.fibalivestats.com/matches/4142/12/25/94/62C24Hrw67TXw/