Alba Berlin is now in the throes of the second leg of its preseason trip to China, during which the German powerhouse will get a chance to play before tens of millions of viewers at the 2011 China Intercontinental Club Championships. Berlin faces Dongbu Promy of Korea on Wednesday and local club Beijing Jinyu Ducks on Thursday in the opening round games at the 18,000-seat MasterCard Stadium, formerly the Beijing Olympics Basketball Gymnasium.
The games are scheduled to be broadcast live on several regional Chinese networks. Together BTV6 (Beijing TV Channel 6),CSPN (China Sports Programs Network), Jiamusi TV and Heilongjiang TV reach tens of millions of households and allow Alba the opportunity to impress basketball fans throughout the world’s most populated nation. Moreover, large crowds are expected for the tournament games, particularly for Thursday’s contest. The Ducks are a popular team and boast the world’s tallest player, 2.36-meter center Sun Ming Ming. The tournament’s other group in Heilongjiang features Cairns Taipans, Xinjiang Flying Tigers and Kentucky Bisons, the latter of whom has signed Paul Pierce, Tyson Chandler and Michael Beasley for the event. The winners of the group stages meet in the final Sunday in Beijing.
Berlin is not the first European club to travel to China as part of its preseason, though it is the first to stay so long. Euroleague Basketball partnered with the Chinese Basketball Association on the CBA-Euroleague Challenge four years ago in Kunshan, China. CSKA Moscow and Benetton Treviso represented Europe in games against the Chinese national team and the Sydney Kings of Australia
Alba 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. There head coach Gordon Herbert led his charges in conditioning and basketball practices to help gear up for the season. After the Intercontinental Club Championships, Berlin will 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.
See Alba Berlin PHOTOS