Wednesday, July 03, 2002

Taiwan NT look to defend Jones Cup title

Last year Taiwan NT won the first Jones Cup title for the hosting country in the tournament's 24 year history. This year they look to defend it with almost the same lineup.

The 25th edition of William Jones Cup Invitational Tournament will take place in Taipei, Taiwan from July 13-22. This year' tournament field includes 8 men's teams and 4 women's teams.

Men's competition
Led by veteran coach Chien Yi-fei, Taiwan NT wil try to retain the championship trophy under the strong challenge of seven strong men's teams from varius countries. Still under the rebuilding stage, Taiwan NT features high-flying Chen Hsin-an(195cm) and Tien Lei(202cm) but will without starting PG Yen Shin-shu, who has a back injury and will sit out six months.

Participating teams for Men's competition include SINA Lions, who finished 8th in its debut season in China's CBA and originally one of Taiwan's strongest teams. Also invited are Philippines NT, which is represented by MBA All-Stars, Japan NT, South Korea's Military Team, Canada's University of Alberta, Russia's Div-II club team Lokomotive Novosibirsk and Australia's Great Mates Basketball Team.

The eight teams will play a single round-robin games to decide the final winner and placing. No additional playoff games are played. That means each team has a seven game schedule, facing every other team once.

South Korea's Military Team and Russia's Lokomotive Novosibirsk also played in the tournament last year in Kaohsiung...Taiwan NT beat Korea's Military in last year's final...MBA sent FedEx team to Jones Cup last year but comes up with an All-Star team this year...This marks the third consecutive year for Philippines' imports Chris Clay and Jeffrey Flowers to play in the Jones Cup

Women's competition
On the women's side, this year's Jones Cup features three national teams that will play in next month's World Championship in Nanking, China. Russia, Japan and Taiwan all send out its NT to the tournament for the preparation of the upcoming big test. Malaysia NT apparently is the weakest team among the four.

The teams will play a single round-robin preliminary games, with No.1 in the preliminary vs. No.4 and No.2 vs. No.3 in the second round. Winners advance to the championship games, while losers battle for third.