Sunday, November 30, 2003

SINA lost three straight

SINA Lions, who is everyone’s SBL title contender, suffered another heartbreaking loss tonight to drop to 0-3 in the inaugural SBL season. SINA was out of sync at both ends of the court and lost to Dacin 67-77.

Tien Lei led Dacin’s attack with 27 points and 13 rebounds. Tien had his best game of the season, scoring 5 straight points on an alley-oop dunk and a three-pointer in a decisive 4th-quarter run to put the game away.

In another game, Lin Chih-jay showed everyone why some folks said he can be better than hotshot Chen Hsin-an. Lin scored his career-high 39 points and single-handedly led Taiwan Beer to a come-from-behind victory over Bank of Taiwan, 83-81. Lin was 15-for-27 in the game and virtually unstoppable, scoring 16 points in the final period.

Lin’s one-hand tomahawk dunk in the second period was obviously the best play of the game. The powerful dunk pulled down the backboard post. The screaming sound from the fans almost brought down the house.

Dacin 77-67 SINA (Half 43-35)
Dacin – Tien Lei 27p+13rb, Chang Chih-feng 15p+6rb, Hsu Chi-chao 12p
SINA – Huang Chun-hsiung 17p+11rb, Chou Jun-san 13p, Liu Yi-hsiang 11p+7rb, Hsiung Jen-jen 11p, Lo Shin-liang 10p

Taiwan Beer 83-81 Bank of Taiwan (Half 29-34)
TB – Lin Chih-jay 39p+5a,Chen Shih-nian 16p+9a+5s
BOT – Yang Chin-min 26p, Wu Yong-jen 19p+8rb, Lin Chun-feng 13p+8rb+5a

Saturday, November 29, 2003

Yulon beat clueless Jutai

NT PG Chen Chih-chung turned in a brilliant performance with 17 point, 6 boards, 5 assists and 6 steals as Yulon beat Jutai 83-78 tonight to top the SBL standings with a 3-0 record. BCC Mars routed Taiwan Beer in another game to win its first game of the season.

Chen Hsin-an had another so-so game but Chen Chih-chung, Chou Hong-yu and Chiu Chi-yi stepped up for Yulon, who rallied in the second half and took control of the game. Chou and Chiu scored 17 and 16 respectively to lift Yulon out of the first-half slump.

Once again, Jutai was led by its backcourt, with Yang Yu-min scored 22 points and Hsu Tse-shin 20. For the third consecutive game, Jutai played like five lost souls on the court and failed to take advantage of its towering frontline consisted of Wu Dai-hao, Ha Xiao-yuan, Shan Wei-fan and Lin Che-wei. Head coach Liu Hwa-lin’s substitution and X’s and O’s skills is highly questioned.

In another game, Mars bulked its way to a 50-30 first-half lead. The rest of the game is history after that.

Yulon 83-78 Jutai (Half 40-42)
Yulon – Chen Chih-chung 17p+6rb+5a+6s, Chou Hong-yu 17[, Chiu Chi-yi 16p, Tsun Wen-din 9p+10rb+8blk
Jutai – Yang Yu-min 22p, Hsu Tse-shin 20p, Wu Dai-hao 8p+10rb, Ha Xiao-yuan 10p+7rb

Mars 88-70 Taiwan Beer (Half 50-30)
Mars – Chen Huei 17p+7a, Lee Chi-yi 16p+7rb, Lai Kuo-hong 12p+7rb
TB – Wu Yang-huei 12p, Lin Chih-jay 11p+9rb+6a, Wu Chih-yuan 10p

Monday, November 24, 2003

Heavy-favorite SINA drops two straight to open season

SINA hasn’t been playing like the team that rocked the Chinese basketball scene during the last two years, as they dropped another game tonight. Out of everyone’s imagination, SINA lost to Jutai Tech 74-76 and opened the SBL season 0-2.

SINA was the odds-on favorite to win the title because they have the experience. They are tough inside. And they have one of the best backcourt in Lo Shin-liang and Chou Jun-san. But they simply looked lost on the court in the last two games. As the oldest team in the league, SINA also has problem catching on with opponents’ quickness.

SINA looks like a different team under new head coach Hu Tsai-lin, who replaced Chiu Da-tsun. Chiu stayed in China after SINA pulled out of the CBA and is now the new head coach of Jiangsu Dragons, which opens the CBA season winning three straight.

In the other game, Yulon beat BCC Mars 79-74 to wrap up the first week with a 2-0 record. Center Tsun Wen-din led Yulon in scoring for the second consecutive game with 21 points and 11 boards.

Yulon 79-74 Mars (Half 40-46)
Yulon-Tsun Wen-din 21p+11rb, Chen Hsin-an 13p+9rb+4a, Lee Chih-ming 12p, Chen Chih-chun 10p+4s
Mars-Chen Huei 15p, Lee Chi-shun 12p, Cheng An-jay 11p, Yen Shin-shu 7p+9rb+5a

Jutai 76-74 SINA (Half 39-43)
Jutai-Hsu Tse-shin 20p, Yang Yu-ming 16p, Wu Chen-dao 11p, Wu Dai-hao 2p+7rb+3blk
SINA-Lo Shin-liang 13p, Hsu Yong-yi 13p, Liu Yi-shiang 12p+11rb, Chen Shi-jay 10p

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Two upsets in Day 2

Day 2 of the 2003-04 SBL season featured two upsets which will raised some eyebrows. Taiwan Beer upset Jutai Tech 68-60 while Bank of Taiwan edged Dacin 89-87. If you count Yulon’s victory over SINA in the opening day a minor upset. That will be three consecutive upsets in the first three SBL games.

Taiwan Beer demonstrated a balanced offensive game with five double-digit scorers to overcame the loss of top player Ho Sho-jen, who suffered a wrist tendon tear and expected to miss the entire season. Led by Lin Chih-jay’s 19 points and 7 boards, Taiwan Beer shut down the imposing Jutai frontline and grabbed their opening win.

In the second game, Bank of Taiwan used its 52-31 rebounding advantage to create numerous second-chance points and gave new head coach Wei Chan-ming his first victory. Lin Chun-feng led BOT with 14 points and 11 boards before fouling out in the 4th quarter.

Taiwan Beer 68-60 Jutai Tech
TB – Lin Chih-jay 19p+7rb+4a+3s, Pan Jen-der 13p, Liao Wei-chen 12p+9rb, Wu yang-huei 12p, Chen Shih-nian 11p+6a
Jutai – Yang Yu-min 18p, O-Yang Jin-hen 16p, Wu Dai-hao 9p+7rb

BOT 89-87 Dacin
BOT – Yang Chin-min 16p, Lin Chun-feng 14p+11rb, Ju Yong-hong 14p+10rb, Chou Ben-tang 12p+10rb+3blk, Hsu Hao-chen 4p+4rb+7a
Dacin – Tien Lei 24p+5s+2blk, Huang Chih-chun 17p+7rb, Hsu Chih-chao 16p

Friday, November 21, 2003

Chen Hsin-an leads Yulon to SBL season opener victory

Chen Hsin-an had 16 points, 14 rebounds and 5 assists as Yulon beat SINA 88-81 in the opening game of the inaugural SBL season. Chen had 14 of his 16 points in the second half.

Yulon’s tenacious defense forced experienced SINA to 20 turnovers. And SINA didn’t help themselves as they missed 15 of 31 free-throw attempts. Both numbers became the deciding factors of the game.

Center Tsun Wen-din had a team-high 17 points. Chiu Chi-yi had 14. Chen Chih-chun had 13 points and successfully shut down SINA lead guard Chou Jun-san, forcing him to 8 turnovers – which doesn’t happen often.

SINA was hurt by the absence of forward Huang Chun-hsiung, who sat out the game because of neck muscle strain.

The first SBL season tipped-off tonight to begin the five-month crusade, which is trying to bring back fans’ interest toward basketball.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

SBL Warmups: Yulon routs SINA

Surprisingly, Yulon routed SINA 95-74 in the most anticipated game in SBL warmup series. Bank of Taiwan tied Jutai Tech 94-94 in another game (no overtime played in warmup series).

Bank of Taiwan 94-94 Jutai Tech
BOT – Yang Chin-ming 23p, Ju Yong-hong 19p, Wu Yong-jen 13p, Lin Chun-feng 13p, Chou Ben-tang 13p+8rb
Jutai – Wu Chen-dao 20p+6rb, Yang Yu-ming 19p, O-Yang Jin-hen 18p

Yulon 95-74 SINA
Yulon – Chen Hsin-an 17p+5a, Chou Shi-yuan 17p, Liu Shen-yao 10p
SINA – Hsu Yong-yi 17p, Liu Yi-hsian 11p+7rb, Chou Jun-san 10p

Friday, November 14, 2003

2003-04 SBL Preview

Yulon Dinos

Head coach: Chien Yi-fei

Projected Starters:
C Tsun Wen-din (203, 1984)
PF Chou Hong-yu (195, 1976)
SF Chen Hsin-an (196, 1980)
SG Chiu Chi-yi (180, 1975)
PG Chen Chih-chung (182, 1977)

Key Subs: PG Lee Chih-ming (173, 1984), C Wu Chih-wei (202, 1976), SG Chou Shih-yuan (190, 1983), PG/SG Hong Chih-chao (187, 1982)

Key Additions: SG Liu Shen-yao (188, 1983, Rookie), SG Lin Ming-shien (184, 1975, Military), PG Huang Bao-tse (180, 1976, Retired from Army)

Key Losses: None

Chen Hsin-an, arguably Taiwan’s best player, can take over the game single-handedly anytime. Yulon features the most sounded half-court offense scheme, discipline, chemistry and the most reliable switching man-to-man defense. Every position goes two deep. Head coach Chien Yi-fei’s experience cannot be overlooked.

Not many. Sometimes their offense is too predictable. Coach Chien prefers the walk-it-up, cut-down-turnover half-court offense. He is reluctant in accepting the open-court style, which most players like to play. With every team boosting up their frontline, Yulon has to take care of the rebounding.

Still the heavy-favorite to win the title, although they didn’t make any dramatic roster change. Keep in mind, Yulon’s starting lineup features five current/former NT players, whose skill level and experience in big games are unparalleled.

Dacin Constructions

Head coach: Liu Jia-fa

Projected Starters:
C Yeh Shu-wei (195, 1983)
PF Lee Feng-yong (197, 1980)
SF Tien Lei (202, 1983)
SG Chang Chih-feng (182, 1981)
PG Huang Chih-chun (180, 1982)

Key Subs: F/G Hsu Chih-chao (190, 1974), Lin Kuan-lun (186, 1984), Chen Tse-wei (198, 1985), Hsu Shi-ching (192, 1984)

Key Additions: None

Key Losses: Wu Dai-hao (202, 1985, Jutai Tech)

This is a team that is strong in the perimeter, with at least seven players that can launch three-pointers. And they really excel in the transition, fast-paced game, if they can control the boards. With Dacin, no lead is big enough because if they go crazy behind the three-point line, you’re in deep trouble.

Tien Lei is one of the best players in Taiwan, as he led Taiwan NT in scoring in Asian Championship easily. He has the athletic ability and sweet shooting stroke that you just can’t find among bigmen who are taller than 6-7. In short, he can dominate the game all by himself.

Liu Jia-fa is one of the most hard-working coaches in Taiwan whose experience will grow. Chang Chih-feng is a underrated shooter who will be benefited from his experience in the World University Games.

Starters’ average height is not bad. And if he wants, Tien Lei will be the most feared rebounders in the game. But Dacin is still a DONUT team which needs help in the middle, because Tien Lei is gradually playing his game further away from the basket. As a team, they fall in love too much with the three-pointers sometimes.

Losing NT C/PF Wu Dai-hao means Dacin will have to work extra harder if they want to make it to the top four in SBL. If Tien Lei learns how to dominate with his inside-outside skill and the backcourt is hot from the outside, Dacin can’t be overlooked. Lee Feng-yong also has to get himself more in the paint to give Dacin a powerful inside presence.

If none of the above happens, it will be hard for Dacin to play with the big boys.

Bank of Taiwan

Head coach: Wei Chen-ming

Projected Starters:
C Ju Yong-hong (194, 1976)
PF Lo Da-wei (193, 1976)
SF Lin Chun-feng (187, 1979)
SG Chen Shen-ya (187, 1983)
PG Hsu Hao-cheng (176, 1982)

Key Subs: PG Chien Ming-fu (162, 1979), PG Wu Yong-jen (176, 1982), SG/SF Yang Chin-min (187, 1984), PF Chuan Xiao-wen (188, 1984)

Key Additions: Chien Ming-fu, Lo Da-wei and Lin Chun-feng (All came back from Military Team)

Key Losses: Ho Sho-jen (Taiwan Beer)

Look at their lineup, BOT is what we call a “no-position” team except for their point guard. Virtually every player can play inside and out and interchangable, especially Lin Chun-feng, Lo Da-wei and Chen Shen-ya.

BOT is at its best when they push the ball downcourt, play the fast-paced, open-court type of game. They don’t have to many set plays in the half-court game. They love to mix it up inside and bang with people although they don’t have height advantage.

And BOT is blessed with the deepest point guard combination in the league (although they are all small), featuring Hsu Hao-cheng, Wu Yong-jen and Chien Ming-fu. All three are capable of starting.

This is a very inconsistent team, and losing top scorer Ho Sho-jen to Taiwan Beer definitely hurts them. Head coach Wei Chen-ming is in his first year after being promoted from the assistant coach position. His experience is limited.

Most people rank them as the last-placed team in the league, which is very possible. BOT had been an underachieving team after former head coach Tien Shi-ho left and Hu Tsai-lin took over (Hu is now SINA’s head coach). And now they lost Ho Sho-jen. BOT has to work very hard to escape from the last-place finish.

BCC Mars

Head coach: Chung Chih-mung

Projected Starters:
C Lai Kuo-hong (196, 1974)
PF Lee Chi-yi (198, 1978)
SF Yang Che-yi (193, 1978)
SG Lin Jia-huang (185, 1975)
PG Yen Shin-shu (183, 1976)

Key Subs: SF Lin Jen-da (195, 1976), PG Chen Huei (185, 1978), C Cheng An-jay (200, 1979), C/PF Lin Shin-hua (198, 1975)

Key Additions: SG Hu Yu-wei (189, 1983)

Key Losses: None

Argubly Taiwan’s No. 1 PG, Yen Shin-shu is Mars’ key to success. In the half-court set, he has the uncanny ability to find the open man in a split of second. And he is even better at handling fastbreaks. Yen’s scoring is also highly underrated.

For years Mars are known for their bruising frontline and the ability to create mismatches. Plus, their core players haven’t changed for almost four years. That means they will have better chemistry and understanding on the court. If they can keep focus and intensity for the whole game, Mars are tough to beat.

Coach Chung knows his players well, and Mars players feed off of him. Basically they will die for their head coach. You can’t say the same thing about the other teams.

Mars is very good at playing 35 minutes of good basketball but ends up losing the game because of five bad minutes. They need to keep the same intensity thru out the whole game.

Mars will be in deep trouble if its outside shot doesn’t fall, which happened often. Lin Jia-huang and Yang Che-yi have to be consistent on the perimeter to open up the paint for big guys.

This is a team no one knows about. If they bring the A game, they can practically beat anybody. If it’s not the case, they’ll be probably upset by anyone. Mars definitely belongs in the top four. After that, in the playoffs, you just don’t know.

SINA Lions

Head coach: Hu Tsai-lin

Projected Starters:
C Liu Yi-shian (201, 1972)
PF Huang Chun-hsiung (201, 1971)
SF Hsiung Jen-jen (192, 1972)
SG Lo Shin-liang (183, 1971)
PG Chou Jun-san (173, 1969)

Key Subs: SF Hsu Yong-yi (192, 1973), C Tan Bo-chan (203, 1980), PG Chung Wei-kuo (177,1977)

Key Additions: Chung Wei-kuo (Jutai Tech), Tang Bo-chan (Jutai), PF Sun Kuo-chan (195, 1972), SG Chen Shi-jay (173, 1984), PG Hong Chih-shan (174, 1985), PF Hsu Kai-jay (198, 1985), PF Kao Li-min (194, 1979)

Key Losses: Shan Wei-fan (Jutai Tech)

Chou Jun-san and Lo Shin-liang is the best backcourt you can find. At 34, Chou is still capable of putting on a 20 point-10 assists show night in and night out. And you can only wish you don’t leave Lo open. He will punish you with his deadeye shooting.

Center Liu Yi-shian is a late-bloomer who earned his reputation as the best post defender in China’s CBA. Huang Chun-hsiung is so versatile that he can play all three frontcourt positions. Hsiung Jen-jen is a hard-nosed defender who will take on anybody.

In other words, SINA has an almost perfect starting five. Some people go as far as saying they are even better than the current national team.

SINA’s starters average 32 years old, which means it’s not a good idea to play them a lot of minutes. And because of the gap between starters and the second-unit, the veterans can’t afford to have serious injuries.

Coach Hu doesn’t have a good reputation in X’s and O’s. SINA players pretty much have to figure out the way they want to play on their own.

SINA is definitely the team to beat in the inaugural SBL season, coming into the season as the No.1 favorite. With the experience in numerous international tournaments and the Chinese league, these guys know how to play. If the second unit can develop within a short time, you can count on seeing SINA in the finals.

Taiwan Beer

Head coach: Fu Ming-jen

Projected Starters:
F Wu Chih-yuan (200, 1983)
F Wu Yang-huei (194, 1981)
F Ho Sho-jen (195, 1982)
SG Lin Chih-jay (192, 1982)
PG Yang Chih-hao (175, 1974)

Key Subs: PG Chen Shi-nian (180, 1984), C/F Wu Jun-hsiung (198, 1984), C Hsu Cheng-wen (197, 1983), PF Chen Jian-cho (190, 1977), SG Huang Jin-ju (188, 1981)

Key Additions: Hsu Cheng-wen (Jutai Tech), Pan Jen-der (NTCPE, Div-II), Huang Jin-ju (Yitong Trust, Div-II)

Key Losses: None

NT players Ho Sho-jen and Lin Chih-jay form the best scoring punch at the 2/3 position. And Taiwan Beer (also named TTL) has been one of the deepest teams in the league for a long time.

They are not big, but they play a junkyard-dog style of game and will fight opponents to the last second.

Bringing in Huang Wan-long, one of the brightest high school coaches and is known for his high-intensity defense, will definitely make Taiwan Beer one of the best defensive teams in the league. It’s possible Taiwan Beer will use a lot of full-court press to wear down opponents.

Ho Sho-jen, Lin Chih-jay, Wu Chih-yuan and Chen Shi-nian are all players on the rise. Given a couple more years, they will be an awesome bunch.

This is a young team that needs time to grow together and learn from mistakes before playing consistently every night. Their perimeter shooting is always up-and-down and questioned.

Taiwan Beer has some tough mid-sized players who like to mix it up inside, like Wu Yang-huei and Lin Chih-jay. The interesting thing is, big men like Wu Chih-yuan and Wu Jun-hsiung are too soft inside.

Taiwan Beer needs a total upgrade at both ends of the court if they want to make it to the semi-final round. Talent is not a question. Focus, determination and executions are.

Jutai Technology

Head coach: Liu Hua-lin

Projected Starters:
C Ha Xiao-yuan (200, 1981)
PF Wu Dai-hao (202, 1985)
SF Shan Wei-fan (196, 1978)
SG Yang Yu-min (178, 1979)
PG Hsu Tse-shin (176, 1982)

Key Subs: PG/SG O-Yang Jin-hen (192, 1979), SF Lin Che-li (186, 1981), F Lin Che-wei (195, 1980)

Key Additions: Wu Dai-hao (Dacin), Shan Wei-fan (SINA), Wu Chen-dao (Military), Chen Shun-hsian (188, 1985, Rookie), Lo Chi-wen (194, 1985, Rookie)

Key Losses: Tan Bo-chan (SINA), Hsu Cheng-wen (Taiwan Beer), Hu Yu-wei (Mars), Chun Wei-kuo (SINA)

Not many teams can say they have two 6-7 guys at 4 and 5 and a 6-5 SF on the wing. Except Jutai. The frontline of Wu Dai-hao, Ha Xiao-yuan and Shan Wei-fan is probably the most complete frontcourt in the league. You have height advantage, defense and offense.

Don’t forget Yang Yu-min, the most reliable shooter in the league. Yang has the explosive first step to break down any defense. And his pull-up jumper is just unstoppable.

With the powerful frontline and deep bench, Jutai can beat anybody.

There is only one full time PG Hsu Tse-shin. And almost two-thirds of the players on the roster joined the team this season. Chemistry will be a problem. Also, Jutai’s half-court execution needs improvement.

Has the potential to challenge any team. The talent is there. All they need is good coaching and time to blossom.

Mars beat SINA in first warmup game

NT member Lee Chi-yi turned in a solid 18 points-8 boards-4 assists performance as BCC Mars edged SINA Lions 70-68 in the first of seven SBL warmup games last night. Mars’ starting PG Yen Shin-shu didn’t play after a minor injury in practice few days ago. SINA simply couldn’t find any basket, shooting 25-of-73 for the game.

Mars: Lee Chi-yi 18p+8rb, Yang Che-yi 16p, Lai Kuo-hong 10p+7rb
SINA: Lo Shin-liang 15p, Chun Wei-kuo 13p, Tan Bo-chan 8p+14rb

SBL Warmups: Hsu Chih-chao’s Buzzer-beater lifts Dacin over TB

Hsu Chih-chao came off a steal and scored on a coast-to-coast driving layup to lift Dacin over Taiwan Beer 70-68 tonight in the second day of the SBL warmup games. Hsu Chih-chao had 16 points on 6-10 shooting in 26 minutes. Tien Lei led Dacin with 17 points and 9 rebounds.

Newcomer Pan Jen-der had 16 points in an outstandsing debut with Taiwan Beer before his bad pass was intercepted by Hsu Chi-chao.

Dacin 70-68 Taiwan Beer
Dacin – Tien Lei 17p+9rb, Hsu Chih-chao 16p+3s, Huang Chih-chun 12p+7a
TB – Pan Jen-der 16p(6-9 FG), Wu Chih-yuan 6p+11rb, Chen Shi-nian 10p

BCC Mars 80-65 Bank of Taiwan
Mars – Lai Kuo-hong 17p, Lee Chi-yi 15p+11rb
BOT – yang Chin-min 16p, Chuan Xiao-wen 15p

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

New Taiwanese basketball competition format

The current Taiwanese basketball competition format that has been going on for years will have a dramatic change after the launch of SBL.

Since the CBA folded, teams went back to join A-League (Amateur League). There are only two stages - President Cup and A-League regular season - for them to play every year. Men’s teams are divided into two divisions – Div-I and Div-II.

Things will look a little bit different this year. Seven top teams form the new Super Basketball League. That means there will be no more Div-I in A-League. From now on A-League will be a one-division league. All men’s and women’s teams which didn’t join SBL will still play under the old A-League format.