Monday, February 19, 2001

Surprise! Yulon vs. Mars in Finals

SINA beat Yulon 62-53 on February 19, but that's not enough for them to gain a place in the 2001 A-League Finals. With Yulon, Mars and SINA all tied at 2-1 in the third round, Yulon and Mars advance to the Finals because of the better won-loss points margin.

The best-of-five A-League Finals and the best-of-three third place games start immediately tomorrow (February 20). A-League Finals features a surprising matchup with Yulon vs. short-handed Mars. SINA will battle for third place with Dacin, who also finished the third round with a disappointing 0-3 record.

Going into the last game, SINA would have to defeat Yulon at least by 18 points to gain the advantage on win-loss margin. They failed and was eliminated with a minus-5 won loss margin. Yulon and Mars advance by the won-loss margin of +12 and +30, respectively.

The Yulon-Mars matchup in the Finals is somewhat a surprise for most people. Yulon was expected to get there, short-handed Mars was not. They are a mix of veterans and mediocre youngsters. However, Chun Chi-mun, who became team councellor after handing head coaching job to player/coach Wang Li-bin, pulled his magic trick once again. Step by step, Mars improved their level of play gradually. 38 year-old shooter Chou Hai-jung made more than half of his three-point attempts in the third round and motivated the whole team.

At the same time, SINA was hurt by the 22-points loss to the Mars in their first third-round game. Instead of cruising to the Finals, which is expected by most people, they were pushed to the final game and never came through.

Yulon 60-51 Dacin
Yulon - Chen Hsin-an 22p
Dacin - Chu Chih-chin 12p, 15rb ; Cheng Chih-lung 7p

Mars 59-36 SINA (Half 34-16)
Mars - San Mao-sun 12p ; Lee Chi-yi 11p ; Chen Huei 11p
SINA - Chou Jun-san 9p ; Lo Shin-liang 7p

SINA 71-63 Dacin
SINA - Huang Chun-hsiung 20p, 10rb ; Hsun "Bear" Jen-jen 14p (4 3-PT)
Dacin - Cheng Chih-lung12p, 7rb, 4a ; Ha Hsiao-yung 18p, 11rb

Yulon 80-68 Mars
Yulon - Chen Hsin-an 22p, 8s ; Chou Hong-yu 17p ; Wu Chih-wei 13p, 12rb
Mars - Chen Huei 23p ; Lin Jia-huang 18p

Mars 85-65 Dacin
Dacin virtually gave up on the game with star guard Cheng Chih-lung not dressing up because of fatigue and ankle injury and mildly-injured veteran center Chu Chih-chin only played 10 minutes. Dacin coach Liu Jia-fa (nicknamed Bobo) said he would not risk the health of his players for a meaningless victory.

SINA 62-53 Yulon
SINA jumped on Yulon right after tip-off and led as many as 21 points, but their lead diminished gradually in the second half. Yulon knew as long as they keep the losing margin within 18 points, they would be in the finals.
SINA - Chou Jun-san 18p, 6a ; Lo Shin-liang 15p, 7a

Third Round Final Standings
1. Mars 2-1 (won-loss margin: +30)
2. Yulon 2-1 (+12)
3. SINA 2-1 (-5)
4. Dacin 0-3