Tuesday, December 28, 2004

SBL actions Dec. 25-26

Videoland beat Yulon 77-72 to win its fourth straight game and is the only undefeated team in the league. Sina dropped two games this week and, like last season, lost its first three games of the season.

Bank of Taiwan 89-76(OT) Sina
BOT – Yang Chin-min 35p, Ju Yong-hong 17p+12rb, Cheng An-jay 12p+10rb
Sina – Lo Shin-liang 28p

ETSN 83-76 Taiwan Beer
ETSN – Yang Yu-min 22p, Wu Dai-hao 12p+10rb, Wu Cheng-dao 15p, Chou Jun-san 17p+7rb
TB – Lin Chi-jay 23p+9rb, Chen Shih-nian 18p+7rb+5a, Ho Sho-jen 13p

Videoland 77-72 Yulon
Videoland – Yang Che-yi 26p, Lee Chi-yi 12p+15rb
Yulon – Chou Shih-yuan 16p, Hong Chi-chao 14p, Tsun Wen-din 14p, Chiu Chi-yi 11p

Dacin 99-79 Sina
Dacin – Chen Tse-wei 23p(4-4 3PT), Hsu Chi-chao 21p, Tien Lei 19p+5rb, Huang Chi-chun 5p+12a
Sina – Liu Yi-hsiang 16p, Wang Chuan-jian 15p

Friday, December 24, 2004

The Monster leads Taiwan Beer to first win

“The Monster” Lin Chi-jay had 33 points and a game-saving block as Taiwan Beer edged Yulon 79-78 to get their first win of the season. Videoland keeps their hot hands going, winning three straight after a 113-100 win over Bank of Taiwan.

Lin Chi-jay made five of his seven three-pointers in the third quarter as Taiwan Beer opened the second half with a 14-2 run to go ahead. Both team exchanged the lead in the final five minutes. With less than 20 seconds remaining and TB led by one point, Lin blocked Chen Chih-chun’s layup which pretty much decided the final outcome.

Yulon, who trailed by four with 3.5 seconds to go, still wouldn’t give up. Chiu Chi-yi was fouled by Hsu Hao-cheng in a three-point attempt. Chiu made the first two free-throws and tried to miss the third intentionally. Unbelievably, the ball banked in! Yulon didn’t have the time to make the final push.

In the previous game, Videoland was still hot from outside as they made 14 three-pointers in an easy win. Videoland tops the standings with 3-0 and looks like the team to beat, judging from their performance in the first two weeks.

Taiwan Beer 79-78 Yulon (Half 33-44)
TB – Lin Chi-jay 33p(7 3PT), Chen Shi-nian 18p+6a
Yulon – Chou Shih-yuan 14p

Videoland 113-100 Bank of Taiwan
VL – Lee Chi-yi 28p(6-8 3PT), Lai Kuo-hong 18p, Yang Che-yi 17p, We Cheng-yu 15p, Chen Huei 11p+7rb+8a
BOT – Wu Yong-jen 19p, Hsu Chi-chan 17p, Cheng An-jay 16p+7rb, Lin Chun-feng 10p


(Note) Wu Yong-jen of Bank of Taiwan was named BALLER OF THE WEEK for the first week. Wu had 24 points and 11 rebounds in an upset win over Taiwan Beer last week.

Chen Hsin-an ready to play for OC Crush

Chen Hsin-an had a great Christmas gift. Orange County Crush of ABA confirmed in a press release that Taiwanese player Chen Hsin-an has received his working visa. Chen will be ready to play for the team in the remaining games. At the same time, the Crush has put their legal issues among owners aside for now. All the postponed games will be re-scheduled in the new year.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Videoland bombs away to win two straight

The first week of SBL action was full of surprises. Videoland, who has not been a spectacular team from outside, bombed away for the second straight game and beat ETSN 90-82 on Sunday. Bank of Taiwan, seen as the weakest team in the league, upset Taiwan Beer 76-72 on the same day.

Led by Lee Chi-yi(5-8 3PT) and Hsiung Jen-jen(4-7 3PT), Videoland made 14 three-pointers and led almost from start to finish. Yang Yu-min led ETSN with 19 points. Veteran point guard Chou Jun-san, who played his first game as an Antelope, was a non-factor.

Wu Yong-jen, who filled in as a starting point guard after the departure of Hsu Hao-cheng(who wnet to Taiwan Beer), had 24 points and 11 rebounds and led BOT to the upset victory. Wu was 5 for 6 from three-point territory. Yang Chin-min and Lin Chun-fong had 19 and 16 points respectively.

Lin Chi-jay, SBL’s leading scorer last season, had an off night. Lin still managed 19 points but was 6 for 20 in the game.

Videoland 90-82 ETSN (Lee Chi-yi 27p, Yang Che-yi 23p, Lin Jia-huang 15p, Hsiung Jen-jen 12p ; Yang Yu-min 19p, Shan Wei-fan 16p, Wu Dai-hao 12p)

BOT 76-72 Taiwan Beer (Wu Yong-jen 24p+11rb, Yang Chin-min 19p, Lin Chun-fong 16p ; Lin Chi-jay 19p, Chen Shi-nian 15p, Ho Sho-jen 13p)

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Chou Shih-yuan leads Yulon past Sina on opening day

Chou Shih-yuan had 18 points, 4 assists and 4 steals and led defending champion Yulon to a 75-70 victory over Sina on the SBL opening day. In the other matchup, Videoland Hunters surprised Dacin 85-79.

Yulon entered the game without three regular players -- Chen Hsin-an (who is in the U.S.), Wu Chih-wei (knee surgery rehab) and Chiu Chi-yi (finger injury). All three will miss the game for at least two to four weeks.

Dacin head coach Liu Jia-fa was furious at the performance of his starters and opted to play the second string for long streches during the second half.

Yulon 75-70 Sina (Chou Shih-yuan 18p+4rb+4a+4s, Tsun Wen-din 17p+11rb ; Lo Shin-liang 20p+7rb, Liu Yi-shian 19p)

Videoland 85-79 Dacin (Hu Yu-wei 19p, Yang Che-yi 19p, Lee Chi-yi 17p ; Tien Lei 20p+6rb+7TO)

Friday, December 17, 2004

04-05 SBL: Wide open race after a successful inaugural season

SBL (Super Basketball League) will tip-off its 2004-05 season tomorrow on December 18th. With a surprisingly successful debut season now in a rearview mirror, the league is looking forward to expand its fan base and re-establish the identity of Taiwanese basketball.

It seems everything is looking good on the court, although the league has so many changes. Two teams (Videoland and ETSN) change owners and team names. Three teams (ETSN, Taiwan Beer and Sina) have new head coaches. And there will be more than a dozen players wearing different uniforms in the upcoming season.

Most of all, there is not a clear-cut favorite among seven SBL teams. Except for the short-handed Bank of Taiwan and rebuilding Sina, the other five teams are capable of making it to the finals. But judging from the pre-season games, BOT and Sina can do some damage too. In other words, winning any game will not be easy this season.

Defending champion Yulon is still loaded with experienced players. The biggest problem for them is the absence of Chen Hsin-an, who is in the US minor league ABA and will not be back until April. Without Chen, Yulon is left without its No.1 scorer and go-to guy. Based on what happened in the past when they play without Chen, Yulon will have problem when things are not going well for them on the court.

Still, Yulon can not be overlooked with its top-notch defense and balanced offense. Lee Yun-kwang will handle the main coaching job while legendary head coach Chien Yi-fei will step aside and work as a consultant.

Sina, who lost two Yulon 3-0 in last year’s finals, is undergoing a big face-lift. Three veteran starters – Chou Jun-san, Huang Chun-hsiung and Hsiung Jen-jen – changed teams after Sina decided not to re-sign them. Sina will rely on Lo Shin-liang and Liu Yi-shian to lead an awfully young roster under new head coach Liu Jun-ching. Consistency will be the main issue for Sina this season.

Videoland Hunters, former BCC Mars, added Huang Chun-hsiung to an already strong frontline. Starting point guard Yen Shin-shu decided to focus on his entertainment business which makes more money for him. Chen Huei will be asked to take the starting role, which he is not unfamiliar with.

The bruising frontlines of Huang, Lai Kuo-hong and Lin Shin-hwa will keep VL every opponent’s nightmare. However the perimeter shooting will be the key for them this season. If they can be consistent from the outside, Videoland will be hard to be stopped.

There will be a lot of expectation on the ETSN Antelopes, formerly in the name of Jutai Technology. With the addition of former Sina lead guard Chou Jun-san plus the inside-outside combination of forward/center Wu Dai-hao and shooting guard Yang Yu-min, ETSN approaches the new season with strong core players. It is also the deepest team in the league with almost twenty players on the roster before the season starts.

Led by last season’s MVP Tien Lei and hard-working head coach Liu Jia-fa, Dacin will definitely try to challenge the title this season. Tien Lei is capable of putting up 20 and 10 in any given game. And Dacin will still use their stamina to wear down opponents. The key for this high-powered offensive team will be consistency and defense. Also, somebody has to step up to take burden off Tien Lei, who will be the focal point of the defensive scheme for every opponent.

Lin Chi-jay, last season’s SBL leading scorer who turned his career around in one year, will be highly-motivated to lead Taiwan Beer, which missed the playoffs last year, into the postseason, even the finals. Lin doesn’t have to do it alone, which was mostly the case last year, anymore. TB signed Bank of Taiwan point guard Hsu Hao-cheng, who was known for distribution and has been one of the most underrated players in Taiwan. Small forward Ho Sho-jen, who used to be the leading scorer of A-League a couple years ago, is finally back healthy after a miserable year when he had both wrist and knee injuries. Former ETSN center Ha Hsiao-yuan will be also looking for redemption in his first year with the club.

Taiwan Beer won the Million-Dollar Challenge in the summer and proves it is a different team from last year.

Bank of Taiwan, who finished dead last in the previous season, will once again try to come from nowhere and surprise people. Losing PG Hsu Hao-cheng and SF Lo Da-wei to Taiwan Beer definitely hurt the team which is already thin and weak. But head coach Wei Chen-ming refuses to back down. BOT will have to rely on blue-collar power forward Ju Yong-hong and the improvement of promising wing player Yang Chin-ming to make something happen.

Monday, December 13, 2004

SBL exhibition games concludes

Yang Chin-min's buzzer-beater helped BOT defeat ETSN 82-81 on Sunday, the final day of the SBL exhibition games. On Saturday, Lee Hsueh-lin had 5 points in the last 1:30 as Yulon beat Videoland 84-81 to win both exhibition games.

However there will be bad news for the defending champ Yulon before the season starts. Veteran center Wu Chi-wei is under rehab after knee surgery and is expected to be out for two months. Shooting guard Chiu Chi-yi had a finger injury(contusion) that will make him out of action for about four weeks.

Minus Chen Hsin-an and two veterans, Yulon's second SBL season will be a lot tougher than the first one.

Dacin 86-77 Taiwan Beer (Lee Fong-yong 15p+9rb, Yen Jia-wei 22p ; Lin Chi-jay 19p, Ho Sho-jen 13p)
Yulon 84-81 Videoland (Lee Hsueh-lin 15p+5rb+3a, Chou Shih-yuan 18p, Tsun Wen-din 13p+3blk ; Lee Chi-yi 17p+7rb, Lin Shin-hwa 15p+7rb)

Bank of Taiwan 82-81 ETSN (Yang Chin-min 21p, Cheng An-jay 13p+6rb)
Videoland 101-83 Sina (Lin Tsung-chin 19p, Wu Cheng-yu 18p, Lee Chi-yi 10p+10rb, Chen Huei 7p+9rb+9a ; Yang Shi-hao 22p, Kao Li-min 12p+5rb)

Saturday, December 11, 2004

SBL Exhibition Games and More

SBL exhibition games
Yulon 75-68 Dacin (Hong Chi-chao 15p ; Tien Lei 20p+14rb, Lin Yi-huei 12p+5rb)

ETSN 87-87 Taiwan Beer (Wu Dai-hao 25p+6rb ; Lin Chi-jay 33p, Yang Yu-min 23p)
Bank of Taiwan 85-85 Sina (Ju Yong-hong 19p+11rb ; Yang Shi-hao 18p)

Chen Hsin-an yet to play
Chen Hsin-an will have to wait for as much as another two weeks before he receives his working VISA and play for the ABA’s Orange County Crush. Chen hasn’t played for the Crush although he had been practicing with the team.