Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Kuo-tai Life wins 12th straight A-League women's title

No surprise here. Kuo-tai Life beat Yadong 2-0 in the best-of-three final series to win its 12th straight A-League women's title. Chunghwa Telecom came back from a 0-1 deficit and defeated Taiwan Power 2-1 in the third-place series.

Yadong, definitely this year's Cinderella team, goes to the finals for the first time in seven years. The second place finish is also its best in years.

■Final A-League women's results:
**Final Series: Kuo-tai 2-0 Yadong
Game 1: Kuo-tai 89-70 Yadong
Game 2: Kuo-tai 80-61 Yadong

**Third-place Series: Chunghwa Telecom 2-1 Taiwan Power
Game 1: Taiwan Power 63-62 Chunghwa Telecom
Game 2: Chunghwa Telecom 89-83 Taiwan Power
Game 3: Chunghwa Telecom 74-53 Taiwan Power

No.1 Kuo-tai 2-0 No.4 Chunghwa Telecom (100-89, 88-70)
No.2 Yadong 2-1 No.3 Taiwan Power (75-65, 53-57, 79-68)

1. Kuo-tai Life 8-0
2. Yadong 4-4
3. Taiwan Power 3-5
4. Chunghwa Telecom 3-5
5. Tai-yuan Textile 2-6

Lee Chin-chi, Deng Bi-jen named NT head coaches

CTBA names Military coach Lee Chin-chi as new men's NT head coach, hoping Lee will lead Taiwan NT to a better result in September's Asian Championship. Yadong head coach Deng Bi-jen also is named as the head coach of women's NT, which will be going to Sendai, Japan in June for Asian Women's Championship.

Lee Chin-shi, 53, has coached Yulon and Military in amateur ranks and Luckipar Panthers in professional ball(CBA). Lee compiled a 69-81 record in the CBA. He also led Taiwan NT to the 4th place finish in 1991 Asian Championship. After 12 years, he is back with the NT again.

Deng Bi-jen, also a former national team player, led Yadong to runner-up in women's A-League which just finished on April 27th.

Yulon finishes first leg undefeated

Perennial power Yulon proves once again nobody can beat them. Yulon finishes the first leg of the 2003 A-League regular season with a perfect 7-0 record. With the help from NT point guard Yen Hsin-shu, who came back from a knee surgery, BCC Mars is right behind with 6-1. Jutai Tech is third at 5-2.

President Cup runner-up Dacin Construction surprisingly dropped to 2-5 due to the absence of star forward Tien Lei, who injured his shooting hand in a motorcycle accident and is expected to be out of the entire season.

The second leg starts on April 27th.

First leg standings:
1. Yulon 7-0 ; 2. Mars 6-1 ; 3. Jutai 5-2 ; 4. Taiwan Beer 4-3 ; 5. Dacin 2-5 ; 6. Bank of Taiwan 2-5 ; 7. Military 1-6 ; 8. Jin-jin Design 1-6

Monday, April 21, 2003

High school phenom Wu Dai-hao leads Dacin past BOT

High school phenom Wu Dai-hao had 24 points and 16 rebounds as Dacin beat Bank of Taiwan, 103-83, in tonight’s only Div-I game. Dacin is up to 2-3 while BOT dropped to 1-4, tied with Jin-jin Design in the last place.

With Wu’s presence in the middle, Dacin’s shooters were all over the place from the first minute, opening up the game for the easy victory. Wu made 9-of-12 shots and was 6-for-8 on the charity stripe. Chang Chih-fung and Cheng Chan-jun made four three-point baskets each and scored 16 and 15 points, respectively. PG Huang Chih-chun also had 15.

BOT was led by Ho Sho-jen’s 26 points and 9 boards. PG Wu Yong-jen had 18.

Sunday, April 20, 2003

Bank of Taiwan ends three-game losing streak

PG Hsu Hao-cheng dished out 14 assists last night(Apr.18) as Bank of Taiwan found back their high-octane offense and beat Military, 104-89, ending their three-game losing streak. Yang Chin-min contributed 19 points, while Chen Shen-ya had 16. NT forward Ho Sho-jen had 14 points. BOT is now 1-3. Military was led by Wu Chen-tao's 27. Lo Da-wei had 20 points and 8 rebounds.

Jutai Tech beat Dacin, 78-74, to go 4-1 and made a strong push to the second place in the preliminaries, behind powerhouse Yulon(4-0). Trailed by as many as 14 points, Dacin cut the deficit down to two(74-76) with a late rally, which Lee Fong-yong made two consecutive three-pointers. But Jutai hanged on after Yang Yu-min made two free-throws with 5 seconds remaining. Dacin dropped to 1-3 after the defeat.

According to what I heard, Dacin will still keep star forward Tien Lei on the sideline before he is fully recovered from his hand injury.(Although Tien should be able to play maybe in next week)

Final 2003 Women's A-League Standings

Preliminary Round Standings
First Leg
1. Kuo-tai Life 4-0
2. Tai-yuan Textile 2-2
3. Yadong 2-2
4. Taiwan Powers 1-3
5. Chunghwa Telecom 1-3

Second Leg
1. Kuo-tai Life 4-0
2. Yadong 2-2
3. Chunghwa Telecom 2-2
4. Taiwan Powers 2-2
5. Tai-yuan Textile 0-4

1. Kuo-tai Life 8-0
2. Yadong 4-4
3. Taiwan Powers 3-5
4. Chunghwa Telecom 3-5
5. Tai-yuan Textile 2-6

Second Round Matchup(Best-of-Three)
No.1 Kuo-tai vs. No.4 Chunghwa Telecom
No.2 Yadong vs. No.3 Taiwan Powers

Rumors say Lee Chin-chi will take over as NT head coach

Sources tell me that current Military head coach Lee Chin-chi will take over as the new NT head coach, after Yulon coaching staff decided to pull out of NT. This will be probably the most shocking basketball news so far this year. CTBA is still working on the details but Lee is expected to be the NT head coach in this year's ABC Championship.

Yulon owner Yen Kai-tai is apparently disappointed when Yulon-led NT was booed hard by local crowd during last year's Jones Cup(in the game vs. SINA Lions), which is why Chien Yi-fei and Lee Yun-kwang, both coached NT last year have been low-key about whether to coach the NT again this year. Chien Yi-fei said earlier this week that Yulon coaches will not accept CTBA's offer to coach the national team again.

Prior to Military team, Lee Chin-chi coached the Luckipar Panthers in the now-folded CBA(Chinese Basketball Alliance) in 1995-99, compiling a 69-81 record.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Jin-jin Design upset Dacin

Taiwanese NT head coach Lee Yun-kwang(Surprised? Yes, our NT head coach plays in the A-League!) had 17 points as Jin-jin Design pulled out the biggest upset so far in the A-League, defeating Dacin 69-67 and recording their first win last night.

Jin-jin Design, who became the first team in history to be promoted from Div-II to Div-I after winning the qualification series last month, led by as many as 16 points in the game. Lee Yun-kwang had 7 points in the last 1:19, making one of two free throws with 1.6 seconds remaining to ice the game.

Dacin, who is still without injured star forward Tien Lei, struggled from the perimeter, shooting a miserable 9-for-41 from three-point territory. Dacin fell to 1-2 after the game.

DongFan Che-ter(NT assistant coach) had 19 points and 7 boards to lead Jin-jin. Lee Yun-kwang had 17 points, 6 rebounds and 9 assists. Lee and DongFan are both over 35 years-old. Dacin was led by Lee Fong-yong's 13 points and 16 rebounds. Hsu Chih-chao had 13.

In the other game, Chen Hsin-an had 21 points as Yulon beat Bank of Taiwan, 90-62. Yulon has won four straight and is the only undefeated team.

Monday, April 14, 2003

Mars top Jin-jin Design

NT point guard Yen Shin-shu is slowly regaining his pre-injury form, collecting 7 points, 9 rebounds and 10 assists in Mars' 74-60 win over Jin-jin Design last night. Mars is now 3-1 and ranked second behind the 3-0 Yulon, who pounded Taiwan Beer, 94-72, in the other game.

Div-II results:
Kuo-kwang Powers 95-77 Tsaishin Alumni
Fushian 85-79 NTCPE
CCU 77-59 TNIT

Sunday, April 13, 2003

Jutai, Mars grabbed second win

Yang Yu-min had 21 points and Ha Hsiao-yuan had 14 points and 10 boards as Jutai Tech beat Bank of Taiwan, 89-73, tonight. Yen Shin-shu also led BCC Mars over Military, 90-86. Jutai, Mars and Taiwan Beer are now all 2-1 and tied for second behind Yulon(2-0) in the first leg.

Div-II results:
NTCPE 96-94 Kuo-kwang Powers
Yitong 99-82 Fushian
CCU 83-79 Tsaishin Alumni

Div-I: Yulon 2-0, Mars 2-1, Jutai 2-1, Taiwan Beer 2-1, Dacin 1-1, Military 1-2, Bank of Taiwan 0-2, Jin-jin Design 0-2
Div-II: NTCPE 4-0, Yitong 4-0, CCU 2-1, Fushian 1-2, Tsaishin Alumni 1-3, Kuo-kwang Powers 0-3, TNIT 0-3

Chiu: Next Jiangsu head coach?

Chiu Da-zong, the head coach of SINA Lions for the past two years, told Taiwanese media that he would coach the Jiangsu Dragons next season after signing a two-year contract. Chiu said he would leave for China on April 25th.

Chiu came back to Taiwan after SINA pulled out of the CBA. According to earlier reports from Chinese media, several teams contacted Chiu for head coaching job. Rumors say SINA owner Daniel Jiang will probably close the team. Chiu’s departure raises the speculation even more.

Jiangsu was 12-14 this season and just missed the playoffs. According to the reports, the team’s Korean head coach Chen Hsiao-jun left after his salary raise demand was rejected. The Dragons feature NT veteran Hu Wei-dong, promising 7-footer Tang Zen-dong and another 7-foot import Simeon Haley. Jiangsu was expected to hire Ma Yua-nan. Instead, they made Chiu the final choice.

Friday, April 11, 2003

Kuo-tai completes first leg without a loss

As usual, A-League women’s powerhouse Kuo-tai Life completes the first leg without a loss, winning all four games. Chunghwa Telecom, runner-up in the previous President Cup, surprisingly drops to the bottom of the standing with 1-3.

In the final day of the first leg, Tsai Pei-chen’s buzzerbeater lifted Taiyuan over Taiwan Powers, 66-64. Tsai Pei-chen had 22 points, 11 rebounds in the game. Veteran Chien Wei-chuan had 25 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists(5-6 3PT) as Kuo-tai crushed Chunghwa Telecom, 93-66.

Kuo-tai 70-55 Yadong
Taiwan Powers 79-64 Chunghwa Telecom

Kuo-tai 93-66 Chunghwa Telecom
Taiyuan 66-64 Taiwan Powers

■Standings (First Leg)
Kuo-tai Life 4-0
Taiyuan Textile 2-2
Yadong 2-2
Taiwan Powers 1-3
Chunghwa Telecom 1-3

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Chen Hsin-an leads Yulon past Mars

Chen Hsin-an had a game-high 26 points, including a crucial three-pointer in the last minute, as Yulon rallied from an early 15-point deficit to beat BCC Mars, 87-79, once again last night. Yulon continued its dominance over the Mars, who hasn’t beat Yulon for almost two years.

Chen Hsin-an also collected 7 rebounds and 6 assists in one of the most anticipated matchup in the first leg. Time and again, Chen used his one-on-one skill to break down Mars’ defense, either scoring himself or hitting open teammates in the perimeter. The last of his three three-pointers boosted Yulon’s lead back to 10 and iced the game.

Mars jumped out on Yulon early for a 15-point lead but couldn’t hold it. Before you know it, Mars trailed by 15 early in the second half instead. Yulon’s tenacious offensive rebounding(19 in the game) is the primary reason why it can hold on to beat Mars, who cut the deficit back to two, 71-73, in the 4th quarter but could never get over the hump.

Yulon 87-79 Mars(Yul- Chen Hsin-an 26p+7rb+4a,Chen Chih-chung 20p+6s, Tsun Wen-din 15p+11rb ; Mars-Yen Shin-shu 18p, Yang Che-yi 12p)
Taiwan Beer 101-75 Jin-jin Design(TB-Wu Chih-yuan 19p+8rb, Wu Yang-huei 17p+12rb, Chen Shih-nian 16p+5a)

Sunday, April 06, 2003

NSC tries to reshape A-League season

Watching local basketball dying little by little, NSC(National Sports Council) decides to get involve and tries to revive A-League basketball. With the help from the NSC, a 7-man committee is formed with the focus on re-shape the A-League season.

The committee is headed by legislator and former NT All-Star Cheng Chih-lung. Among the committee members are Ju Sho-cheng(NSC Vice President), Yu Wen-wei(CTBA Vice President), Wang Jen-shen(CTBA Deputy Secretary General), Chein Yi-fei(Yulon head coach), Yen Jia-hwa(Delegate of Jutai Tech) and marketing advisor Wang Wei-chung.

In the primitive plan, the committee will try to cut the Division I teams down to six in order to increase the competition balance. Players from Military Team will be assigned to each of these six teams thru draft. Ideally, it want to have a three-month season which allows one or two imports to play, and plays 1/3 of its schedule outside of Taipei area, in order to increase the fan base and at the same time limits team traveling to the minimum.

Also, the committee is talking about limiting college and high school players of the A-League teams. It wants to make A-League a pure semi-pro league without student-players in the future.

In short, the new season format will look no much different than the current one, but it will focus more on marketing and increasing fan interest, seeking more corporate sponsorship. But before the committee laying out the complete blueprint, all we can do is still just wait. You can talk the talk but also have to walk the walk. Everyone is looking forward to a new-and-improved A-League.

Yang Yu-min had 31 ; Yen Shin-shu back from injury

Two NT backcourts highlighted the second day(April 5th) of the A-League play. Yang Yu-min had 31 points as Jutai Tech beat Taiwan Beer, 91-76. Yen Shin-shu came back from a knee injury that kept him out of action for 9 months, collecting 10 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists in Mars' 93-59 win over Bank of Taiwan.

Division I
Jutai Tech 91-76 Taiwan Beer
Mars 93-59 Bank of Taiwan(Mars-Yen Shin-shu 10p+8a, Yang Che-yi 19p ; BOT-Ho Sho-jen 21p, Ju Yong-hong 13p+12rb)
Military 105-72 Jin-jin Design(Military-Lin Chun-fung 19p)

Division II
Yitong 95-76 Kuo-kwang Powers
NTCPE 95-81 Tsaishin Alumni
Fushian Hotel 89-81 Tong-nan Institute of Technology

Yulon 1-0, Military 1-0, Mars 1-0, Jutai 1-1, Taiwan Beer 1-1, Dacin 0-1, BOT 0-1, Jin-jin Design 0-1

Yitong 2-0, NTCPE 2-0, Fushian 1-1, Tsaishin Alumni 1-1, Chinese Culture Univ. 0-1, Kuo-kwang Powers 0-1, TNIT 0-2

Kuo-tai 1-0, Yadong 1-0, Chunghwa Telecom 0-1, Taiyuan 0-1, Taiwan Powers 0-0

Saturday, April 05, 2003

Dacin opens A-League season with loss, Yulon escapes

Without Tien Lei, who is still recovering from his hand injury from a bike accident, Dacin opened its A-League season with a loss to Taiwan Beer, 75-80, last night. Defending champion Yulon followed with a hard-fought win over Jutai Tech, 71-67.

Lin Jia-shen banked in his only basket in the game with 26.8 seconds left to seal the victory for Taiwan Beer, who finished 6th in the President Cup. Dacin was without Tien Lei and Wu Dai-hao, who signed with the team but was unable to play last night because of personal engagement. Yulon, who almost blew a 15-point lead, overcame a furious rally by Jutai Tech with PG Chen Chih-chun's two late free-throws.

Former NT center Chu Chih-chin, who has been living in the State for almost two years, returned to Taiwan and hired as an assistant coach. Chu will focus on training Dacin's big men.

Div-II results

Tasi-shin Alumni 83-80 Fushian Hotel
NTCPE 82-76 Chinese Culture Univ.
Yitong 95-58 Tong-nan Institute of Technology

Friday, April 04, 2003

Jin-jin Design becomes first team promoted to Div-I

Led by Tsai Fu-tsai's 29 points, Jin-jin Design beat NTCPE, 84-66, in the last game of the qualification series. With its 2-1 record, the Div-II team becomes the first team to be promoted to Div-I since the CTBA adopted the qualification series format.

Military gets to stay in the Div-I after defeating Yitong Trust, 111-77, finishing the series with three straight wins. Meanwhile, Yitong also becomes the first team to be dropped to Div-II.

NT head coach Lee Yun-kwang had 14 points, 8 assists and 6 steals for Jin-jin Design in the victory. Veteran Tsai Fu-tsai made 11-of-19 shots, including 5-for-10 from the three-point range. Former CBA MVP DongFan Che Ter had 12 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists.

Jin-jin Design is conprised of second unit players from TPEC(Taipei Physical Education College) and retired Yulon players, like Lee Yun-kwang, Tsai Fu-tsai and DongFan Che Ter.

Div-I games tipoff tomorrow as Yulon takes on Jutai Tech and Dacin meets Taiwan Beer in the opening day action. The double round robin games will finish on May 8th before the playoffs take place.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

Qualification series kickoff A-League season

A four-team qualification series before the REAL games kickoff A-League's 2003 regular season. Military and Yi-tong Trust, ranked last two in the previous President Cup, will fight for the right to stay in the Division I with Jin-jin Design and NTCPE(National Taiwan College of Physical Education).

Teams in the qualification series will have to play a single round robin, with each team playing three games. Top two teams advance or stay in the Div-I, while the other two teams are dropped or stay in the Div-II.

The interesting news is, NT head coach Lee Yun-kwang plays for Jin-jin Design this year, which I can't understand why. However, the 36-year-old former NT point guard plays well. He had only one point in 25 minutes in his first game, but came back to collect 19 points, 6 assusts and 5 steals in the second game. Personally, I think it's better for Lee to focus more on the national team than playing for a Division-II team.

Division-I games will start on April 4th.

4/2 Military 89-71 NTCPE, Jin-jin Design 76-75 Yitong
4/1 Military 107-70 Jin-jin Design, Yitong 77-72 NTCPE