Friday, July 20, 2001

ABC Championship Notes

Taiwan Hopes for a Back-to-back Final Four
In the pre-game press conference, Taiwan NT head coach Lee Yun-kwang said that Taiwan hopes to duplicate a back-to-back top 4 finish, after finishing 4th in the 1999 ABC Championship in Fukuoka, Japan. Featuring an inexperienced roster that averages less than 22 years-old and only four players remain from 1999, Lee said Taiwan NT hopes for a peak performance in next year's Asian Games.

Beat China with Speed
South Korea head coach Kim Dong-kwang and star center Seo Jang-hoon both indicate that, in order for the Koreans to beat China, South Korea has to take advantage with its superior speed and passing game to overcome China's towering frontline.

Although South Korea vows to take back the title it lost in 1999 ABC Championship to the Chinese, Kim said South Korea's primary target would be getting into the final, thus securing the tickets to the 2002 World Championship in Indianapolis, USA.

Pre-game PC
Five players from four countries, including Taiwan NT captain Yen Shin-shu, China's Yao Ming and Wang Zhi-zhi, South Korea's Cho Sung-won and Japan's Masaki Goto, attended the pre-game press conference held on July 19. Asked about the rematch with Japan after the East Asia Games, Yen Shin-shu said Taiwan NT is confident they can beat Japan once again and make it to the final four. On the other hand, NBA-bound Yao Ming refused to answer questions unrelated to the ABC Championship from the media.

Former Taiwan Pro Lead Singapore
Chen Cheng-hao, formerly playing for Hong-fu Rams of Taiwan's CBA (Chinese Basketball Alliance) a couple years ago, comes back to the basketball circle after being named Singapore NT's head coach. After retiring from basketball, Chen moved to Singapore and works as a basketball analyst for ESPN/STAR channel. Chen, a 6-3 shooting guard nicknamed "Chinese Jordan" because of his fluid moves in mid-air, was on the Chinese NT before playing in Taiwan. Knee injury forced him to early retirement. Chen's wife Lin Kwang also coaches the Singapore Women's NT.

In the preliminary games, Chen will probably face another former Ram teammate Joe Vogel (210cm, Colorado State), an American C/F who is on the Lebanon NT, if Vogel is declares eligible to play. Joe Vogel was added to the Lebanon roster last month. Several coaches questioned his eligibility in the ABC Championship.