Saturday, June 30, 2001

4-Nations Invitational Schedule Released

Taiwan NT will start its final stage of preparation for the upcoming ABC Championship when "YES 4-Nations Invitational Tournament" tips off on July 9. The tournament features four nations, including Taiwan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Philippines. Aside from Philippines' college all-star team, the other three national teams are expected to head for Shanghai with the same roster. The tournament receives sponsorship from local mineral water company YES.

■4-Nations Tournament Facts and Schedules
Date: July 9 - July 15
Venue: Taipei County Gymnasium, Panchiao, Taipei County
Teams: Taiwan NT, Kuwait NT, Saudi Arabia NT, Philippines College All-Stars
Format: Double round robin

July 9 - 1800 Philippines - Saudi Arabia, 2000 Kuwait - Taiwan
July 10 - 1800 Saudi Arabia - Kuwait, 2000 Taiwan - Philippines
July 11 - Kuwait - Philippines, Saudi Arabia - Taiwan
(First round robin ends)
July 13 - 1800 #1 - #3, 2000 #2 - #4
July 14 - 1800 #4 - #1, 2000 #3 - #2
July 15 - 1800 #3 - #4, 2000 #1 - #2

Saturday, June 23, 2001

Injured Chen Drops Out of NT

High-flying forward/guard Chen Hsin-an confirmed earlier today that he will not play in the upcoming ABC Championships because of eye injury. Losing Chen brings another problem for the Taiwan NT, which already went through coaching changes and tons of controversies after winning silver in the East Asian Games.

Chen says he still has blurred vision caused by the injury and doesn't want to risk his career by playing at less than 100% recovery. The injury took place in a warm-up game vs. Hebei when Taiwan NT visited China for the preparation before the EAG. Chen suffered an ill blow from a Hebei player, who was obviously frustrated after Chen continuously scored at ease, and required nine stitches around his left eye. However Chen turned in an unbelievable performance in the EAG and became the No.2 scorer in the tournament.

Chen Hsin-an hasn't joined the NT practice since returning to Taiwan. Several reports indicated Chen and his parents think the CTBA did not take care of the injured players and asked for compensations for the injury. Chen says he expects to rest for 3-5 months before joining the national team again.

Taiwan in Death Group in ABC Championships

Taiwan is placed in Group D - the Death Group - with Japan, Qatar, and a Middle Asia team, which is believed to be Kazakhstan, after the draw of the 21st Asian Basketball Championship. With the young age and the lack of international competition experience, Taiwan NT's chance to get into the final four - even final eight - in the championship does not look good.

Following the "S" format, the 16 participants based on the results of the previous championship held in Fukuoka, Japan in 1999, were grouped as follows:

Group A - China, Philippines, Hong Kong, Middle Asia Runner-up
Group B - South Korea, UAE, Thailand, DPR Korea (North Korea)
Group C - Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, West Asia Champ, West Asia Runner-up
Group D - Taiwan, Japan, Qatar, Middle Asia Champ

Top two finishers in this year's ABC Championship will qualify for the 2002 World Championship, which will be held in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. China has won 11 of the previous 13 ABC Championships.

Friday, June 15, 2001

Lee Replace Chien As NT Coach

Coming off a surprising East Asian Games performance, Taiwan NT suddenly finds itself without a head coach. CTBA announced assistant coach Lee Yun-kwang , who's only 33, will replace Chien Yi-fei as head coach in the upcoming ABC Championships, after it learned that almost the entire coaching staff expressed intentions to leave the national team for different reasons.

Chien Yi-fei, who has been battling cancer for a year, decided to leave NT for health problem. Chien's health got worse under the tremendous pressure of coaching the national team. He still wants to coach the team but his body obviously can't take the physical and mental drain. However, Chien will be on the national team in the ABC Championships as technical counselor.

Assistant coaches Tien Shi-ho and Jack Mai also left the team for personal reasons. Tien said he has to concentrate more both on his day job in Bank of Taiwan and as the head coach of Bank of Taiwan basketball team. Jack Mai will leave for USA after receiving an offer to work as a special assistant under Sacramento Kings GM Geoff Petrie.

That leaves the remaining coach on the national team, Lee Yun-kwang, as the only possible replacement. Although Lee has no any head coaching experience, he is strongly endorsed by his mentor Chien Yi-fei, who coached Lee in Yulon Dinos. Lee retired last year and has been working as an assistant coach for Taipei Physical Education College basketball team. During his playing days, Lee has been the starting PG on the national team for almost 10 years.

Change in the coaching staff deals another blow for Taiwan NT. Winning silver in the East Asian Games does not guarantee Taiwan NT anything in the ABC Championships. Every country is expected to send out their best players for the tournament, thus making the tournament a completely different scene from the EAG.

Event: 4-Nations Tournament & Jones Cup

CTBA announced yesterday that a brand new "4-Nations Tournament", originally a replacement tournament for the William Jones Cup, will be held in Panchiao, Taipei County in July 9-15. National teams from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Philippines and host team Taiwan will battle in the mini-tournament for the preparation for the ABC Championships in Shanghai.

Jones Cup Time & Place
The 24th William Jones Cup Invitational Tournament, which was dropped due to lack of sponsorships, will be back. With the help from NSC (National Sports Council), CTBA staff is working on inviting as many countries as possible for the game, which has been Taiwan's biggest summer basketball event for the past 20 years.

A total of 14 teams, eight men's teams and six women's teams, are expected to play in the tournament. The tournament will be held from August 16-26 in Phongsan, Kaohsiung County, and becomes the first time ever the Jones Cup schedules all games away from the Taipei Metropolis area.

Monday, June 11, 2001

CTUSF Lost in AUBC Final

Unable to stop opposing 6-8 bigman De Ocampo, CTUSF (Chinese Taipei University Sports Foundation) lost their composure in the final quarter as CTUSF handed the championship trophy to the Philippines, losing 72-82 to St. Francis of Assissi College in the 2nd Asian University Basketball Championships on June 9.

De Ocampo pumped in 13 straight points to lead a 13-5 spurt at the start of the fourth quarter, as St. Francis rallied from a five point deficit and jumped to a 73-70 lead in the middle of the period. St. Francis increased the lead to 80-72 after two straight three-pointers and became the second Philippines team to win the tournament, following last year's University of Manila.

Chinese-Taipei was still ahead, 65-60, when De Ocampo started to assert himself in the shaded lane. Shocked by the sudden turn of events, the Taiwanese made hurried shots and turned the ball twice in succession as St. Francis took a 73-70 lead.

ST FRANCIS 82 - De Ocampo 23, Labian 13, Vergara 13, Espino 10, De Ocampo 9, Sotto 6, Punzalan 4, Kiram 4, Billanes 0, Adrimessen 0.

CTUSF 72 - Wu Chang C 15, Chang Chih-feng 15, Chien Ming-fu 12, Lin Che-wei 10, Chen Huei 7, Cheng Jen-jay 4, Huang Fu-shun 4, Shan Wei-fan 3, Ha Hsiao-yuan 2, Chen Ying-sho 0.

Quarters: 21-17, 41-42, 60-65, 82-72.

Sunday, June 10, 2001

NT Will Not Change Roster

Taiwan NT head coach Chien Yi-fei insists on going to the ABC Championships with the same roster as East Asia Games, which Taiwan finished with silver. Chien says Taiwanese basketball needs the infusion of young blood and there will be no looking back in tranforming the veteran-laden NT into a brand new team.

Chien admits that bringing back veterans will make up the inexperience of the team. At the same time, he is also very impressed with Taiwan NT's energy, hustle and teamwork. Taiwan NT will begin practice on June 11 and head for Shanghai, China for the ABC Championships in late July.

■Current Taiwan NT Roster
PG - Yen Shin-shu, Chen Chih-chun
SG - Chiu Chi-yi, Yang Yu-min
SF - Chen Hsin-an, Chou Hong-yu, Ho Sho-jen
PF - Tien Lei, Wu Dai-hao, Lee Chi-yi
C - Wu Chi-wei, Tsun Wen-din

Jones Cup On the Way Back

William Jones Cup, the biggest annual summer basketball event in Taiwan, maybe is on its way back.

Due to the lack of sponsorship and budget, CTBA originally decided to drop the event this year and opted for a 4-countries mini-tournament. By the help of NSC (National Sports Council) president Hsu Yi-shun, CTBA said it will do everything to keep the Jones Cup alive.

If everything goes well, the Jones Cup will be held in early-August in Fongshan, Kaohsiung County (which is located in southern Taiwan). CTBA sacretary general Yu Wen-wei said the best time for the Jones Cup will be early August, since the ABC Championships is in late July, the World University Games is in late August and the ABC Women's Championships is in September.