China's guard Li Nan said he never knew the true meanings of "Don't give up" until a phenomenal 67-66win over world champion Serbia & Montenegro on Monday.
"Today I know the true meanings of 'Don't give up' after we beat the world champions. Coach (Del) Harris told me not to give up even though there is only a slim of chance to advance (to the quarterfinals). I appreciate his work," said the 28-year-old, who scored 14 points in the win.
China trailed almost through the whole game until Yao Ming, thepivot of the Chinese team, put China ahead for good at 64-63 with 28 seconds to go.
This is only the second time China enter the last eight in the Games. It finished eighth in Atlanta, the United States, in 1996.
"Coach Harris took all the blames and complaints after we lost to Italy. However, we saw no sign of giving up when he prepared us for the last game. He earned our respects," said Li, one of the two players in the squad who played in 1996.
Harris, assistant coach of the Dallas Mavericks of the NBA, took the role of the team in May.
"I have to admit that some Chinese athletes don't know how to deal with a situation like this. But today coach Harris taught usthat you can not give up until the end of the game," he added.
"I like the way we played today. I won't be regretful even we would have lost to Serbia &Montenegro."
(Xinhua News Agency August 24, 2004)