Kings big man blazing trail for Chinese players
BASKETBALL: Lost in the swirl of satisfaction following Sydney's biggest win over the New Zealand Breakers on Sunday, Bo Liu delivered his own piece of history.
With a textbook-perfect jumpshot late in the fourth quarter, Liu became the first Chinese player to score in the NBL.
It was a major moment for the unassuming development forward, who has worked tirelessly behind the scenes to receive court time.
Buoyed by his maiden bucket, Liu now wants to become a trailblazer for the Chinese population.
"Yes, I'd love to keep playing in the NBL. All the best players are here and I can learn a lot here," Bo said.
"I need to get more rebounds, especially at the defensive ends, and I've been getting stronger this season and I want to keep getting stronger.
"But it was so good to get my first points on Chinese New Year. I was just thinking shoot the ball, I want to score.
"My family are very happy and they watched on their computers at home."
Regardless of his NBL future, Bo will continue playing under Sydney coach Andrew Gaze this off-season with the Melbourne Tigers in the SEABL.
The towering Chinese big man first met Gaze when he signed with the Tigers last March.
Bo played all 24 matches in the SEABL - enough to convince the new Kings mentor he was ready to impress on the NBL stage.
Since signing with Sydney as a development player via a loan deal from Shenzen, the 20-year-old has impressed with his attitude and application.
His success is particularly special for the Kings given they've devoted a significant amount of time to his progression and his deal is also part of the franchise's wider plans to engage with China and its prestigious CBA league.
"It's great and I'm happy for Bo," Gaze said.
"He hasn't got to play too much, but he is a capable player. He is coming in there at the end of games, but we've got great depth in that forward position.
"He could play minutes in this year, but it's just unfortunate with the team we've got right now it's not there.
"But he is practising, he pushes the other guys and he is a great student of the game.
"And when you consider he is away from his family, his English is not great, a different culture, he has had to deal with an unbelievable set of circumstances.
"But Bo takes it in his stride and he is very committed to what he has to do."
Bo celebrated Sunday's personal milestone by eating his favourite food.
He recently won $250 in a team half-court challenge and on hitting the winning shot yelled, "Pizza".
He spent most of his winnings that day on the Italian cuisine and continued the tradition after Sunday's dominant win over the Breakers.
"We all went to Tommy's (Garlepp) house and I ate a whole lot of pizza," he smiled.
Tonight: 36ers v Breakers, 4.30pm; Kings v United, 6.30pm (times AEST)