Zhu Fangyu, Du Feng, Wang Shipeng and Smush Parker (L to R) of Guangdong Southern Tigers celebrate at the CBA awards ceremony in Dongguan, Guangdong Province, on April 25, 2010. Guangdong beat Xinjiang Flying Tigers 103-94 in the Game 5 of the finals to win the series 4-1. (Xinhua/Liu Dawei)
Du Feng, head coach of reigning Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) champions Guangdong Southeast Tigers, said his players should maintain their concentration levels as the league moves closer to its resumption.
China's basketball league is set to restart on June 20 with a revised championship-style format that will see the season's remaining matches played behind closed doors. The teams will split into two groups and will play their matches either in Qingdao or at Guangdong's home court in Dongguan.
For Du, players need to return to peak physical condition as soon as possible, after several months of training without any match practise.
"Everyone has been training very hard over a couple of months. However, it's inevitable that they feel tired mentally as it's a long period," acknowledged Du.
Yi Jianlian (1st R) celebrates with his Guangdong Southern Tigers teammates after they won the fourth round game against Xinjiang Flying Tigers during the 2018-19 CBA finals in Urumqi, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, on May 3, 2019. Guangdong won the game 103-98 to claim the series title 4-0. (Xinhua/Zhao Ge)
"Now that league's format has been confirmed, mentally we should stay together. Physical conditioning is crucial given the championship-style format and intense schedule after the CBA restarts, so we need to maintain our concentration in training over the next few days," he noted.
The nine-time CBA winners sat atop the 2019/20 table with 28 wins from 30 matches before the league was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.