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Basketball: Wang in But No Yao Ming in Asiad Squad
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Former NBA forward Wang Zhizhi has been included in a 16-man China squad made up of home-based players for next month's Asian Games in Doha, Qatar.

Houston Rockets center Yao Ming was not in the squad, posted on the China Basketball Association (CBA) Web site, as he has been given permission to skip the Games, which open Dec. 1. Yao is committed to the Rockets and his multimillion-dollar endorsement deals with the regular season starting this week, leaving 2.14-meter center Wang as the key player.

Sun Yue, Liu Wei, Yi Jianlian, Du Feng, Zhu Fangyu, Wang Shipeng, Li Nan, Zhang Jinsong and Mo Ke form the core of the 16-man squad, which won last year's Asian Championships.

Wang is back in the fold after refusing to play for China as he pursued a four-year NBA career with the Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat, which meant he missed the last Asian Games in South Korea in 2002.

Wang is one of the four players in the squad from the Bayi Rockets.

Four players will be cut after a trial in November.

China failed to reach the quarterfinals at the world championships in Japan in August but will be confident of a better showing in Doha, where the side won the Asian championships last year.

China is seeking to regain the Asian Games title the team lost four years ago in a thrilling final won by South Korea 102-100 in overtime.

It was the first time in 20 years China has failed to take gold at the Asian Games.

The team's main challenge at the Games in Doha from Dec. 1 to 15 will again be from South Korea, with Lebanon, host country Qatar, and Japan also in the hunt.

(Source: Shenzhen Daily/Agencies November 1, 2006)

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