Besides fostering goodwill in the world's most populous country, Turkish Airlines Euroleague hopeful Alba Berlin made the most of its competitive opportunities by finishing as the undefeated champ of the 2011 China Intercontinental Club Championships on Sunday. With a handy 84-67 victory over Cairns Taipans of Australia, Berlin ended the five-day tournament with a 3-0 record. Berlin had previously beaten the Beijing Jinyu Ducks 77-82 and Wonju Dongbu Promy of Korea 70-59 to advance to the tournament final. Also participating in the tournament were Xinjiang Flying Tigers of China and Kentucky Bisons of the United States. In Sunday's final, Berlin fell behind early but quickly turned things around behind the play of Kyle Weaver, who finished with 16 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists while being named the tournament MVP. Bryce Taylor with 14 points, Torin Francis with 13 and DaShaun Wood with 11 were also key to the Berlin victory. "We got the most out of this tournament," Berlin's new head coach, Gordon Herbert, said afterward. "We improved game to game, and this has been most important. We were able to finish today with our best performance so far."
Thus ended the competitive phase of a two-week training camp experience that none of Berlin's players, coaches and staff will likely forget soon. The team was able to train at state-of-the-art facilities built for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics and played at the 18,000-seat MasterCard Stadium, formerly the Beijing Olympics Basketball Gymnasium. Games were broadcast live on several regional Chinese networks, reaching tens of millions of households and allowing Berlin to show the country's fans the high quality of European basketball.
Berlin began its two-week trip last week at China's national Olympic basketball center in Qinhuangdao, where Team China has conducted its training camps in recent years. Berlin will now enjoy a daytrip to the Great Wall of China and spend more time training at the Olympic Village before returning to Germany. Alba Berlin is hoping to get to the Turkish Airlines Euroleague this season via the Qualifying Rounds, in which it faces VEF Riga in its opening game in Charleroi, Belgium, on September 29.