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The first “win” in China

What was supposed to be a meaningless 10-minute scrimmage against an amateur team from Weifang, China, turned into a meaningful confidence boost for the Hawaii basketball team on its recent “Warriors to Asia” tour.

The Warriors opened the tour with losses against a national team from Australia, and then the Qingdao Eagles. Prior to a second game against the Qingdao Eagles, Hawaii was asked to play a 10-minute scrimmage against an amateur team sponsored by the Bank of Weifang.

The Warriors won the scrimmage, 16-14. Although it wasn’t considered one of the exhibition games of the tour, the Warriors used the momentum of that win to spark a three-game winning streak against Chinese professional teams.

“It got us our first win,” Hawaii head coach Gib Arnold said. “That little 10-minute pregame against another team was unexpected, but a few of the guys who don’t get to play a lot got to play all of those 10 minutes and got us into a nice little flow.”

The bank was a key sponsor for the two games pitting Hawaii against Qingdao, so the scrimmage was set up as a goodwill gesture to thank the bank.

However, the Warriors were informed of the scrimmage only moments before it happened, and were told they would have about an hour after the scrimmage to prepare for its exhibition game against the Qingdao Eagles (the scrimmage was played at the same arena as the exhibition game).

“I didn’t mind,” junior forward Joston Thomas said. “The more basketball we play, the better we can get. It was only 10 minutes. We took it as a warm-up.”

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