Between breaks of the first practice, one of the teammates, Qi Xiao Yun, the older of the Qi brothers, challenges Xiang. 20 shots. Just 20 shots. Xiang lets Big Qi go first. He plays around with the ball, showing off his dribbling skills and plants the ball into the hoop 19 times, a near miss in the last shot. Xiang walks up for his turn. He picks up the ball and throws it towards the basket with his back against the hoop. The ball goes right in. Xiang turns around, catches the ball bouncing ball with his right hand, switches to his left and shoots. The ball goes it and bounces back. Without moving, Xiang stops the ball with his right hand and transfers to his left hand, he shoots another one. One after an other, all 20 shots obediently enters the hoop. Practice is over. Xiang’s ease and accuracy earns him respect as well as inspires Big Qi to put more effort into the actual sport.
DaYing takes his homework seriously, fearing that his negligence will cost W her future. He dribbles the ball with him everywhere, from men’s bathroom to the inside of a bus. The passengers eye him weirdly, the bus driver pulls to a sudden halt, opens the door and throws DaYing’s basketball out of the bus. (I wonder if he dribbles in class and when he gets kicked out of class, he dribbles his way out.)
W watches as DaYing dribbles home, tears welling up in her eyes: the guy who’s only been living in her house for two days is putting in the time and effort to make sure the basketball team she invests her future on won’t lose.
The next few days, DaYing continues to dribble while Xiang sleeps on site, and the other teammates run their own errands. He confronts W, W tests his dribbling skills and finally gives him the final exam of dribble: if he can dribble up the stairs of the bridge and dribble down from the other end, then he can move on to shooting baskets.
DaYing tries and tries. Each time, the ball either bounces off the stairs, or bounces away from under his crouch. The voice of his dead grandma echoes in the distance telling him to concentrate. He tucks the failure away and tries again. He still can’t do it. DaYing sits down on the bridge stairs to take a break, not forgetting to sulk.
WuJi Zun and WuJi Wei brothers – AKA the omnipresent stalker pair – walk up the bridge together. Zun casually dribbles a basketball, smoothly reaches the the top of the stairs, and walks away without turning back. Once the brothers are on the bridge, Wei asks his older brother, “Would this work?” “I hope he’ll understand.” Zun answers.
When DaYing thinks through the simple rule: you control the ball with your the rhythm of your own body, the stalker pair are already gone. No matter, DaYing picks up the ball and tries again. This time he succeeds, until… until JieEr pops up and waves hi to DaYing. He loses grip of the ball at the sound of his name and falls face first onto the stairs leading down from the bridge.
Being the primary distractor that caused DaYing to fall, JieEr apologizes and picks up DaYing’s scraped hand to blow away the dirt from his palm. DaYing is elated at JieEr’s gesture of concern – the first physical contact between her and JieEr. (It’s ok, it’s just the hand.)
As if the feeling of jealousy can transmit through distance and cast its affect, Xiang misses the ball while he’s trying to practice his trade mark move: Kang-Long-Bu-Hui Tornado Style Slam Dunk. Zun picks up the ball behind Xiang, “You not only didn’t improve, your performance dropped.” Wei demonstrates Xiang’s own move in front of him, beautifully slamming the ball into the basket where it belonged. Xiang agrees to Zun’s duel to prove himself. Zun blocks the ball in the air, the force of which send Xiang into a long, hard fall. Xiang falls to the ground and wakes up. It’s just a dream. With a bad omen.
JieEr stays at the bridge with DaYing. They sit side by side, munching on a bread for a quick dinner. Then DaYing brings the ball back to the other end of the bridge to practice again. JieEr watches as DaYing dribbles with utmost concentration, she thinks to herself, “A guy looks the best when he’s investing all his energy into something.”
DaYing finally walks across the bridge dribbling the whole way. Out of happiness for his accomplishment, he drags JieEr into a tight hug.
Another day at the practice. The three old teammates improvise a little dance to destress themselves as well as warm up for the real practice. The Qi brothers urge DaYing and Xiang join the formation, the five of them dance away happily.
W comes and picks DaYing out for the next set of training: shooting. She has DaYing shoot before her. He grabs the ball, poses for each move in slow motion, mouthing an elaborate verbal instruction of each move as if it’s a replay of an exceptional move coupled with the sports broadcaster’s detailed explanation. Out of impatience, W slaps into the back of DaYing’s head and urge him to shoot. He yells back, “Alright, alright. I’ll shot, now.” And, he does the same thing. Three slaps later, he finally shoots. The ball didn’t even touch the hoop.
W settles down to teach DaYing how to shoot, standing behind him, moving his limbs here and there. Finally, DaYing turns around and says, “You know sometimes, you can verbally teach something instead of touching? You know what I’m saying? Back in where I used to live, there’s been a harassment scandal. Between a female PE teacher and …” As he speaks, DaYing walks over to pick up the ball, *Pahh* W throws the ball at the nape of DaYing’s neck. DaYing stands immobilized for a second, remembering all sorts of scenarios of his grandma hitting him with whatever object she finds handy. Then he turns his head, “Did you know what you did made me remember my grandma?” He picks up the ball and thrrrrrrrrows it at W.
Ever since DaYing attacked W, both W and Xiang are surer than ever of DaYing’s potential. What they saw during that fateful moment is a basketball coming at W with a tail of fire trailing after. The ferociousness is fearsome.
By nightfall, DaYing has made his first shot. Then a second, a third..
The next day is the basketball game. There’s no crowd the cheer the teams on, only the awkwardness between the coaches and the embarrassment DaYing’s various actions evoked. DaYing walks towards the opponents and shakes hands with each of them, introducing himself as the no 1 from Pi Li and expressing his pleasure to be playing with them.
DaYing jumps ball with the tall opponent from the rival team. He unintentionally distracts the tall opponent with his “Hey, I’m Yuan DaYing, no 1 on the other team… I’ve seen you before… I think it was on TV..” Pi Li gets the ball, Xiang scores the first two points with a slam dunk. DaYing yells from across the court, “Hey, DongFang Xiang, I didn’t meant to pass the ball to you! Why didn’t you listen to me?! It’s for Xiao Yun!” It’s Xiao Yun that reminds DaYing to return for the defense. DaYing continues to distract his tall opponent with his outlandish behavior. While DaYing is engrossed in his strangeness, the opponent has passed the ball between DaYing’s legs, the opponent team soon earned their first two points.
Game continues, Xiao Yun passes the ball to DaYing, who in a moment of triumph, decides to show off his newly learned shooting skill by sending the ball way out of bound, onto the face of JieEr. His teammates can only shake head at DaYing’s nonsensical moves. No one is willing to pass the ball to him anymore. Even when he walks up to his teammates, extending both of his palms, begging for the ball. In a stroke of luck, DaYing gets his hands on the balls again. He jumps up to shoot. It flies off bound and finds its home on JieEr’s face a second time. W covers her face in disbelief. DaYing resumes his position as the ball beggar on the team.
With two people guarding Xiang, DaYing hanging on the side doing nothing, Pi Li sinks into a difficult four against five situation. It doesn’t help when the opponent team manages to enrage the temperamental Qi brothers, causing a stir and three out of the five members to be benched. W calls for a break. The score is 21:4 and there are only two active player from the Pi Li team on the court. (Two against Five? A little too ridiculous.)
With only two people on the court, the script writer manages to squeeze some humour out of the situation. DaYing calls Du Fei a pig, Du Fei throws his arms in the air as if incensed by the sudden insult and moves towards the basket yelling, “If you keep calling me a pig, I won’t play anymore.” DaYing replies, “Come back here” while throwing the ball in his hand towards the basket. It bounces off the hoop, Du Fei jumps up and puts the ball back in. 21:6. W lets out a knowing smile, the other team looks incredulous and a little pissed off.
The game returns to normal. Situation keeps getting worse. DaYing starts to chat with the opponent who holds the ball. The chat took a little too long, and the player violates the 30 second rule. Pi Li gets the ball. Well done. The player grows impatient for having been fooled by DaYing. DaYing puts his arms around the guy’s shoulder and condoles, “Don’t worry, I will pass the ball to you in compensation.” He does pass the ball to the other guy, to everybody’s amazement. Before the guy can get back to court, DaYing stops him, “Do you really want to play the other half of the game? How ’bout the dare? If you make the three pointer, we’ll announce your victory. If not, how about you send out two players for the next half as well?”
The arrogant opponent team agrees.
The player stands for a three point shot, DaYing jumps up and blocks it. The opponent team have to comply to their end of the deal.
Half time break, W asks DaYing if he came up with the way to drag out the game. DaYing reveals the truth: when he is on his way back to the court from the bathroom, a mysterious man (WuJi Zun) hands him a paper with ways to turn the competition to Pi Li’s advantage as well as a DV recording for W.
The second half of the game doesn’t look any more promising than before. Difference is, the two players from the opponent team have the bad luck to enrage DaYing with their comments of him not able to keep his girlfriend. So DaYing does the basketball comet again and knocks one of the guys unconscious from one side the court to the other side. He runs towards the ball when everybody is still in shock. DaYing grabs the ball, jumps up, and slams dunk. Only, his face slams into the basket first. He extends out one hand and grabs onto the basket, then with another hand, he drops the ball into the hoop. Score. The opponent team is speechless.
W on the other hand, is making progress with the DV hints from Zun. She comes out and calls for a break. She shows the content of the DV to the judge and the other coach, revoking the judge’s ruling of benching the three team members. The two teams come to a mutual agreement, let the game resume regularly, five against five. W walks away full of confidence.
Within minutes, Pi Li has caught up. Whether Pi Li can defeat their opponent in their debut game? Does W have any strategy up her sleeve? Will find out next episode.
This drama is hilarious. The love quadrilateral is shaping up, and hopefully WuJi Zun and WuJi Wei’s real identities as well.