Yannis Christopoulos, pictured last Thursday, has begun his second stint at the CBA franchise after replacing Italian head coach Simone Pianigiani. XINHUA


Greek coach Yannis Christopoulos back at the helm tasked with reviving Beijing’s flagging fortunes

With Greek coach Yannis Christopoulos back at the helm, the Beijing Ducks have vowed to bounce back from their early-season slump as the CBA league resumes this week.

Having almost fallen out of playoff contention after the first two phases of the 2020-21 season, the Ducks hit the reset button during the Spring Festival break by reappointing Christopoulos as head coach. Now the capital franchise is targeting a strong finish in the regular season’s final stage, which tipped off on Monday in bio-secure bubbles in Zhuji, Zhejiang province.

Hamstrung by injuries to key players and a lack of chemistry with new signings, the Ducks fell to 12th in the standings with a 16-19 win-loss record when Phase 2 concluded on Feb 6, prompting the three-time CBA champion to turn again to Christopoulos after parting ways with Italian head coach Simone Pianigiani.

Christopoulos led the Ducks to three consecutive playoff appearances from 2018-20 in his first stint at the team, and already appears to be restoring morale to the locker room.

“It’s good to hear him yelling out loud from the sideline again,” veteran forward Zhu Yanxi said after an open training session on Thursday.