Friday, March 24, 2000

Long-time rival Yulon, Hong-kuo meet again in Millennium Series Finals

After three months, it's still Yulon vs Hong-kuo. Yulon Dinos trounced BCC Mars 2-0 in CBA's Millennium Series semifinals, while Hong-kuo Elephants surprisingly knocked out regular season second place Luckipar Panthers 2-1. Both teams will meet in the best-of-five Finals, which begins on March 25.

Yulon and Hong-kuo met three straight years from 1995-1997 in the previous CBA Finals, with Hong-kuo winning two championships in '97 and '98. Yulon vs Hong-kuo has become the most intense rivalry in taiwan basketball history.

Hong-kuo was not expected to step into the finals, considering they only finished third place in the regular season with a mediocre 5-5 record. With their top player Cheng Chih-lung opted playing in China, Hong-kuo has been inconsistent under young coach Chiu Da-tsun. However they surprised everybody with their effective 1-3-1 zone defense and upset favorite Luckipar in the best-of-three semi.

On the other hand, clear-cut favorite Yulon dominated the regular season with 8 wins and 2 losses, featuring high-flying 6-4 young star Chen Hsin-an and 6-5 import Emmett Hall. Obviuosly, they are the most explosive offensive team in the league.

Most experts believe the talent and cohesiveness of Yulon is too much for Hong-kuo to overcome this time, not like the old years they clashed in the CBA Finals, when star-loaded Hong-kuo was always the favorite. But you never know.

RESULTS: Yulon wins series 2-0
Game1 - March 14, Yulon 99-89 Mars
Behind Chen Hsin-an's hot shooting, Yulon led from start to finish...
Yulon - Chen Hsin-an 30p, Emmett Hall 18p; Mars - Yen Hsin-shu 15p, Matt Bryant 16p, Chianti Roberts 16p, 9rb, 4a

Game2 - March 16, Yulon 89-74 Mars
Yulon take a quick 14-point lead they never relinguished just 14 minutes into the game, the rest is history...Mars lead guard Yen Hsin-shu did not play due to waist injury...
Yulon - Emmett Hall 31p, Dong-fan Che-ter 16p, Chiu Chun-chi 18p; Mars - Chianti Roberts 20p, Matt Bryant 15p

RESULTS: Hong-kuo wins series 2-1
Game1 - March 15, Hong-kuo 90-89(2OT) Luckipar
Puzzled by Hong-kuo's 1-3-1 zone, Luckipar lost the big lead late in the regulation...Erik Martin made just 1 of 4 free-throws in the deciding moments in the second overtime
Luckipar - Erik Martin 27p, 23rb

Game2 - March 17, Luckipar 81-59 Hong-kuo
Luckipar did not make the same mistake in Game 1, they jumped on Hong-kuo early and led 49-31 in halftime...
Luckipar - Erik Martin 21p, 19rb, 9a, Hsu Yun-yi 16p; Hong-kuo Rex Manu 14p, 18rb, Chou Jun-san 13p

Game3 - March 20, Hong-kuo 77-74 Luckipar
Lo Shin-liang tallied 21 points and iced the victory for Hong-kuo with two clutch free-throws with 3 seconds remaining...
Hong-kuo - Lo Shin-liang 21p, Rex Manu 23p, 11rb; Luckipar - Erik Martin 17(6-18 FG, 5-10 FT)p, 24rb, 7a, Chen Chi-chun 26p, 4a, 3s

GAME1 - March 25
GAME2 - March 26
GAME3 - March 28
GAME4 - March 30(if necessary)
GAME5 - March 31(if necessary)