Wednesday, January 03, 2001

A-League Tipoff on Jan.3

Taiwanese A-League will tip-off its season today with the mixed feeling of earlier professional basketball collapse and the excitement of a brand new season.

Five of the six pro teams re-enter the amateur ranks after the CBA failed to relaunch and boost the A-League teams to an all-time high 16. For the first time in the past six years, Taiwanese players gather to play in one single basketball league.

According to the league format, last season's top 6 teams automatically advance to the preliminary games, while the other 10 teams will have to play thru the qualification and wild-card games to determine the remaining four seeds in the preliminary games.

Qualification games and wild-card games will run thru January 3 to January 17. Preliminary games start on February 3, right after the Chinese New Year. The regular season champion will be crowned on March 2 after a best-of-five finals.

Three former CBA teams, Dacin, Yulon and SINA (Taken over by a new owner and thus changed its name from Hong-kuo to SINA) are the favorites to win the regular season. Dacin is powered by hottest local star player Cheng Chih-lung and former Hong-fu center Chu Chi-chin. Yulon is led by high-flying youngster Chen Hsin-an and a trio of young legs in Wu Chi-wei, Chou Hong-yu and Chiu-Chi-yi. And SINA features almost the same starting five of Hong-kuo's three-peat days in the CBA.

After the REGULAR SEASON, A-League will hold its annual PRESIDENT CUP, which is perceived as the league's second season, in the end of the year.