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With the FC Barcelona basketball team on the other side of the world this week on their Euroleague Asian tour, insider news and views have been slow to take shape. With that in mind, let's take a quick look at what they've been up to between flights, meals, and the battle to beat jetlag.
After Barça's arduous 22-hour trip to China, they opened up with a friendly on Tuesday, a relatively easy victory against the Zhejiang Lions in Hangzhou. The final score of 94-83 didn't tell the whole story, as Barça had to fend off an early threat as the Lions fought hard until the end of the first quarter. A second quarter run put the game well under Barça's control, and that's where it stayed until the final buzzer.
The highlight of the encounter arguably took place before the game, as dozens of local Barça fans, mobile phones in hand to keep true to the lyrics, took pride in singing the Barça Anthem.
One Team Project
As part of the tour, the team have also been taking part in the Euroleague's 'One Team' Project geared towards underprivileged children. On Wednesday morning, head coach Xavi Pascual and players Nachbar, Abrines, and Hezonja were at the University of Zhejiang in Hangzhou where they put on a skills clinic for 40 local boys and girls that included three on three games and non-verbal communication drills.
The squad then did a bit of sightseeing in Hangzhou, visiting the Liuhe Pagoda, a tenth century cultural marvel that was both destroyed and rebuilt again in the twelfth century. They also visited West Lake, famous for its exquisite beauty and historic architectural wonders.
On Wednesday night they packed their bags and caught a flight to Taipei, Taiwan. After touching down an hour late the team checked into their hotel around midnight local time. On Thursday morning the players got a 9.30 AM wake up call and were out on the court by 11.00 AM to begin preparations for Saturday's friendly versus the Taiwan All Stars.
Following the training session, Barça were officially presented to the local press at a luncheon ceremony at the Grand Hyatt Taipei that was attended by Basketball Director Joan Blade and team members Navarro, Huertas, Doellman, Tomic and Oleson.
Later on in the afternoon they were back out on the court for an intense workout and to get ready for what should be an exciting game on Saturday, with tip-off scheduled for 12.30 PM local time.
After Saturday's game, the team are due to head back to Barcelona.
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