Thursday, December 21, 2006

2007 SBL schedule announced

The schedule of 2007 SBL season was announced Wednesday as defending champion Yulon will meet Taiwan Beer, which lost to Yulon in the Finals last season, in the opening game on January 6, 2007.

The regular season will run from Jan. 6 - May 6 for a total of 105 games with each team playing 30 games, meeting every opponent five times. Playoffs will start from May 11 and end on June 3, 2007 if the Finals goes to seven games.

YMY will change its name to Azio, a cable televesion station, due to sponsor change.

The 2007 season will be the first time that SBL games being held in cities outside of Taipei. Sixteen games will be moved to Miaoli, a mid-Taiwan city, and the southern city of Tainan in April and May.

The league also added a venue -- Sinjhuang Stadium in Taipei County -- in metro Taipei in addition to Taipei Physical Education College Gymnasium, where all the SBL games were held during the last three years.

Seven teams will play in exhibition games from Dec. 30, 2006 - Jan. 2, 2007.

2007 SBL Primers:

Bank of Taiwan
Dacin Tigers
ETSN Antelopes
Taiwan Beer
Videoland Hunters
Yulon Dinos

Regular season: Jan. 6 - May 6, 2007
105 games with each team playing 30 games

Playoffs: May 11 - June 3, 2007
1 vs. 4 and 2 vs. 3 in best-of-three semifinals
Losers meet in a best-of-five third-place series
Winners meet in a best-of-seven title series

Post Asian Games observation Part II


Part II of my short observation of the Doha Asian Games men's basketball:


SOUTH KOREA: The fifth place is probably a good result for other countries, but not for Korea, which won the gold medal four years ago in Pusan and has always been China's biggest rival. Basically the finish will be seen as a humiliation for Koreans, who have been always proud of their basketball.

It looks to me that Korean basketball is in an awkward situation that doesn't know where it wants to go. Does it want to go big, with the inside presence of 7-3 Ha Seung Jin? Does it want to keep its shooting-the-lights-out old style as a team that stresses its quickness?

Korea knows very well that if it wants to beat China, it needs to go big and improve its height in every position. But once they do that, they probably have to say goodbye to the old style and start playing a whole new brand of basketball.

Which explains why Korean basketball, in my eyes, is in a crossroad. Plus, for the past two years it has been in a transition period after a couple of veterans, such as Lee Sang Min, Hur Jae and Moon Kyung Eun, among others, retired from the national team.

On the other hand, maybe I'm over-concerned. If Korea's opponent in the quarterfinal was not China, it might as well went to the semifinals, even the title game.

Anyway, Korean did not play well in the tournament. A upset loss to Jordan and the fourth place finish in the prelim were why it had to meet China in the quarterfinal.

205cm center Kim Joo Sung was still Korea's best player, leading the team with 15 points and 5.3 boards per game. Ha Seung Jin played a lot of minutes but finished with only 9.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and an embarrassing 37% free-throw percentage, making him opponents' best target to foul.

Two weird scenes here. Bang Sung Yoon (10.5p) exploded for 42 points in one game (dropping 12 threes!) but did not score at all in the other three games he played. Lee Kyu Sup only appeared in two games.

Yang Dong Geun averaged for 10.3 points per game while point guard Kim Seung Hyun averaged for 10 points plus 5.8 assists. In my opinion, Kim -- once dubbed as the most talented point guard prospect in Korea -- dominated the ball a little bit too much.

Korea does not need to worry about talents. Korean basketball will always produce talented players. But it will have a lot of work to do after the Asian Games. First off, it has to figure out where it wants to go in the future. Secondly, its national team program probably needs to be re-organized.

And it seems to me that Korean shooters are not as good as before. Korea needs height desperately in order to beat China, but it has to keep good shooters on the team as well.


JAPAN: Japan only finished for 6th place but new head coach Kimikazu Suzuki made a successful national team debut after replacing Croatian coach Zeljko Pavlecivic.

Suzuki successfully mixed the old with the young in the tournament. His philosophy is drastically different than the former coach, who opted to go for a youth movement. Suzuki, head coach of JBL's Aisin Seahorses, brought back three Aisin veterans Takehimo Orimo, Kenichi Sako and Eric McArthur and was not disappointed.

36 years-old shooting guard Orimo led the team with 11.9 points. Sako's (5.0p) experience has been valuable throughout the tournament when the team needed him. McArthur only lasted one game though.

Younger players also showed tremendous improvement after the World Championship, including 23 years-old Ryota Sakurai (194cm, 10.4p) and 21 years-old Kosuke Takeuchi (205cm, 9.6p+8.4rb).

25 years-old PG Shinsuki Kashiwagi (181cm, 8p+3a) was the unsung hero for the team with his hustle, penetration and directing the half-court offense. Tomoo Amino (196cm, ) another player from Aisin, had 7.5 points per game.

Will Japan replace its youth movement with the mix of veterans and youngsters? It's a question to be answered. In the long run, I believe it's better for Japan to keep its youth movement going instead of relying too much on veterans because Pavlicevic had worked with the young guys for a couple of years.


KAZAKHSTAN: Kazakhstan is probably my favorite team in the entire tournament because of their potential and balance. It was really unfortunate for them to lose to Jordan in the quarterfinal. After all, the Kazkahs were 25 seconds away from the final four.

But they collapsed and eventually lost in overtime due to their youth and inexperience. It was a very hard lesson to learn.

Under the tutledge of head coach Alexey Yeropkin and assistant Vitaliy Strebkov, both former NT players, Kazakhstan has been the most improved team in Asia in the last two years. And believe me, it will be the most dangerous team in Asia within a short time.

With three of its starters under the age of 20, Kazakhstan plays like a seasoned team most of the times. It's always organized and fundementally sound. Its outside shooting is very underrated while the inside players always hit the boards.

18 years-old leading scorer Anton Ponomarev (208cm, 17.4p+9rb) will be a player to watch even for NBA scouts. He needs to develope his upper-body strength and gain experience to go to the next level though.

Rustam Yargaliyev (16.1p) and Yegor Biryulin (7p) were both born in 1986 and will be national team long-stays in the future. Other notable players include: 198cm Mikhail Yevstigneyev (12.3p+6.6rb, 1984, ) Yevgeniy Issakov (10.1p+7.5rb, 1982, 201cm, ) and veteran Dmitriy Korovnikov (11.7p, 198cm, 1976).


TAIWAN: See previous reports about the disappointing team. Maybe I am too harsh on my national team, but honestly, talking about the team is a waste of my time.


LEBANON: Lebanon was a team that did not want to play in Doha. And it was the reason of its disappointing finish. Their hearts were not in the game.

By saying that, Fadi El Khatib was still one of the most explosive scorers in Asia by averaging 23.8 points in four games. Joseph Vogel averaged for 19.4 points and 10.6 rebounds per game.

Lebanon basically played a two-man game(El Khatib-Vogel) in the tournament and that was it.


SYRIA: Did I mention two-man game? How about a one-man show? Michael Madanly (191cm, 1981) was the only player Syria could count on, averaging for 27.7 points, 7 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.9 steals per game.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Post Asian Games observation Part I

15th Asian Games Doha 2006 - Previews

Is there anyone surprised at China winning gold in the Doha Asian Games? Guess not. Bottomline is, China has been the only super power in Asia for the past few years and I really don't see any serious challenger down the road for another few years in the future. That is the fact we learnt at Doha.

Which means, South Korea is no longer able to give the Chinese a serious run for the title. Lebanon is a different team without former head coach Paul Coughter, who helped build Lebanese basketball as it is today.

If Qatar manages to keep its current American head coach Joseph Stiebing on board and its devotion on basketball. With more foreign-turned-Qatari players coming in, Qatar should be able to maintain its competition level. But it is still hard for them to challenge China, evidenced by the 58-44 title game score at Doha.

Aside from China, however, the competition level of other Asian countries has been as close as it could be in the history of Asian basketball. Asian basketball will be as exciting as ever in the future.

This is not a fantasy, especially when you saw Jordan and Iran made the semifinal and Taiwan almost made it there if it didn't lose to Qatar in double-overtime. Kazakhstan came out as a Cinderella team as well. The Kazkahs would've play in the semifinal if they didn't squander a 7 point lead in the last 25 seconds in the quarterfinal vs. Jordan.

I'll offer my quick observation for the top ten teams below.


CHINA: China's defense has improved a lot under the guidance of Lithuanian head coach Jonas Kazlauskas. Without the service of Yao Ming, the rise of young players like Yi Jianlian (212cm, 16.6p) and Sun Yue (205cm, 5.1p) gave China big hopes. And Wang Zhizhi (216cm, 19.0p), the tournament MVP, has been playing well consistently since his return to the national team.

Sun Yue will be the best player at the three spot, being able to push the ball upcourt and direct the offense. He is definitely the better choice at small forward -- more like a point forward -- than Zhu Fangyu, but I'm not convinced he can play as a point guard like many claimed.

Zhu Fangyu (200cm, 9.5p) and Wang Shipeng (197cm, 8.8p) will be the shooters China counts on for years to come. Their outside shot will take some loads off China's inside players and will be a big help.

Truth is, China is the team to beat in Asia even without Yao Ming and Wang Zhizhi. But the players need to keep their focus and give all their effort on the court at all times, which was not the case in the Asian Games and why Kazlauskas was unhappy sometimes.

As for Yi Jianlian, his age is constantly questioned by many. Aside from that, he needs to add some post moves to his reportoire in order to make it to the next level. His quickness, coordination and shooting touch are things you rarely see in big men though.


QATAR: The host country survived a scare in the quarterfinal game vs. Taiwan and made it to the title game. I guess that lived up to their pre-tournament expectation.

Over the years, Joseph Stiebing has taken this team to a different level. The team which simply could not make jumpers consistently has now become a team that can play inside and out. Qatar's height advantage makes it a dangerous team for anyone. But it has the same problem as China. Sometimes the players could lose focus and suddenly looked clueless on the court for five or ten minutes, which resulted in momentum changes that could've costed them a win.

The key for Qatar is always their outside shooting because they have no problem scoring over Asian teams inside. In that regard, players like Saad Abdulrahman Ali (194cm, 14.1p), Daoud Musa Daoud (193cm, 7.6p), Ali Turki Ali (200cm, 8.1p) and Erfan Ali Saeed (198cm, 11.6p) are those who can make or break the game for Qatar. But of course, the leadership of veteran Yasseen Ismail Musa (205cm, 11.8p) is critical for the team as well.


IRAN: I like their balance and youth. Same problems here. If these players learn how to gel as a team and gain more exprience, it will be even more dangerous. Plus, the core players on this squad are mostly under 24 years-old, such as B.M. Samad Nikkhah (198cm, 13.9p, ) Hamed Ehdadi (218cm, 10.1p+10rb, ) Mahdi Kamrany (180cm, 9.6p+4s, ) and Aidin Nikkhah Bahrami (200cm, 9.4p). It's why Iran will have a bright future ahead.


JORDAN: Jordan is the real Cinderella team in the tournament by upsetting South Korea in the prelim and erasing a 7-point deficit in 25 seconds in the quarterfinal game vs. Kazakhstan.

Jordan has played exceptionally well inside and out in the Asian Games. Its brusing frontline players are the key, including 204cm Zaid Al Khas (17.3p+8.3rb, 47% 3PT, ) 205cm Ayman Idais (8.3p+7rb, ) and 203cm Islam Abbas (7.6p+7rb).

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Taiwan Women's NT overcame adversity to win silver in Doha

It's been a while since Taiwan Women's NT came home from Doha with silver medals. I apologize for not updating the news in time. Still, let's look back on what has happened in the Asian Games.

Not surprisingly, Taiwan lost to China in the gold medal game 90-59 but it's still Taiwan's best finish in its Asian Games history. And it hung with the Chinese for a period and never gave up before the final buzzer, which was probably good enough and something to be proud of.

Especially when you think about that the men's team took up the majority of resources, such as budgets and media/fans attention, and ended up with a disappointing 8th place finish, Taiwan Women's NT definitely saved the face for Taiwanese basketball.

Thanks to Lin Hui-mei's 13 points, the team trailed by China by only three (24-21) in the first quarter of the gold medal game, which was supposed to be a blowout from start to finish. Lan Jui-yu scored 9 points in the second quarter to prevent the score from out of reach. At halftime, Taiwan trailed 46-33.

The second half was another story, however. China quickly pulled away with its inside advantage. Admittedly, Taiwan was not on the same level with the Chinese.

The forward tandem Chiang Feng-chun (16.3p+6.2rb) and Liu Chun-yi (15.5p+3.5rb), both 25, is the backbone of the team. Both of them shot over 50 percent from the floor in the tournament and were the only players to average in double-figure scoring. Chiang and Liu will shoulder much of the scoriing load in the forseeable future and most important pieces in going for a 2008 Beijing Olympics seed.

Point guard Wen Chi has come of age at the age of 22 and showed promising future. With her dazzling speed and sound fundementals, Taiwan Women's NT can count on her for a long time to come.

Although she's only 170cm tall, Lan Jui-yu is a shooter on the rise who has a big heart and is fearless on the court. 20 year-old Lee Wan-ting also has great potential to be good in the future.

Cheng Hui-yun, who has been the starting center for the team for so many years, was somewhat hampered by her knee injury in the tournament and thus limited her effectiveness. Once receovered, Cheng is expected to be the main inside force again.

And don't forget 35 year-old Chien Wei-chuan, who has been on the national team for almost 20 years. Chien successfully transformed herself from the main scorer on the team to a seasoned veteran who directs offense and keeps her teammates focused at all times. Chien, who said she will not consider retirement until after the 2008 Beijing Olympics, may have lost a step or two but her experience and leadrship was hard to replaced.

Also give credit to head coach Hung Ling-yao, who gave her all to train this squad and now gets the sweet payback. Hung's relationship with the media was always strained but she only focused on what she was supposed to do.

Taiwan Women's NT Asian Games Roster

4 Chen Yi-feng G 171 1984 Cathay Life
5 Chien Wei-chuan G 171 1971 Cathay Life
6 Chiang Feng-chun F 184 1981 Cathay Life
7 Sun Chieh-ping G 172 1983 Cathay Life
8 Lan Jui-yu G 170 1983 Cathay Life
9 Chu Yung-hsuan F 177 1981 Cathay Life
10 Wen Chi G 168 1984 Cathay Life
11 Cheng Hui-yun C 186 1977 Cathay Life
12 Lin Hui-mei F 177 1981 Cathay Life
13 Lin Chi-wen C 186 1983 Tai Power
14 Lee Wan-ting F 180 1986 Cathay Life
15 Liu Chun-yi F 180 1981 Tai-yuan Textile

Head Coach: Hung Ling-yao
Assistant Coach: Chang Hui-yin, Wang Ling

Player Stats

Chiang Feng-chun 16.3p+6.2rb 56%FG
Liu Chun-yi 15.5p+3.5rb 53%FG
Wen Chi 8.5p+4.8a
Lin Hui-mei 7.3p+4rb
Lan Jui-yu 7.3p
Chu Yung-hsuan 5.8p+3.8rb
Lee Wan-ting 5.7p+5rb
Chien Wei-chuan 5.3p
Lin Chi-wen 4.7p
Cheng Hui-yun 3.3p+4.5rb

Friday, December 15, 2006

Asian Games - Disappointing finish for Taiwan NT in Doha

For the second consecutive game, Taiwan NT did not look like a team that wants to play basketball. It seemed all they wanted to do was going home.

A humiliating 100-74 loss to Kazakhstan gave Taiwan the worst finish ever -- the 8th place -- in its Asian Games history. Originally setting its goal at the top six, Taiwan instead finished one spot lower than four years ago in Pusan, Korea, when it was 7th place.

According to a Central News Agency report filed from Doha, head coach Lee Yun-kwang said after the game he will resign from the national team position.

Taiwan men's NT finished for 5th place in 1990 Asian Games, 6th place in 1994, 5th place in 1998 and 7th place in 2002.

Taiwan NT simply collapsed in its last two classification games vs. Japan and Kazakhstan after suffering a double overtime loss to Qatar in the quarterfinal. Today it was outrebounded by the Kazkahs by an astounding margin of 55-23 and shot only 41 percent, compared to Kazakhstan's 51 percent.

Before halftime, Taiwanese found they were trailing by double digit. In the second half it trailed by 30 points at one point.

Chou Shih-yuan led the team with 17 points. Lin Chi-jay had 14. Tien Lei and Tsun Wen-ding scored 12 and 10 respectively.

18 years-old Anton Ponomarev had a game-high 25 points and 9 rebounds. Mikhail Yevstigneyev followed with 23 points plus 16 boards. Rustam Yargaliyev had 10 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists.

Taiwan NT in Doha (3W-5L)

Preliminary round(3W-2L)
Lost 75-85 to Japan
Beat Kazakhstan 81-79
Lost to China 65-101
Beat Lebanon 86-72
Beat Uzbekistan 106-69

Lost to Qatar 96-103(2OT)

Classification games
Lost to Japan 67-78
Lost to Kazkahstan 74-100

Taiwan NT player stats

Chen Hsin-an 15.5p, 3.1rb, 3.1a, 3TO, 46% FG, 36% 3PT, 56% FT
Tien Lei 14.3p, 9.4rb, 1blk, 37% FG, 31% 3PT, 67% FT
Tsun Wen-din 11.5p, 8.1rb, 2.5blk, 47% FG, 65% FT
Lin Chi-jay 10.3p, 3.6rb, 40% FG, 33% 3PT, 83% FT
Yang Che-yi 10p, 51% FG
Chou Shih-yuan 7.6p
Lee Hsueh-lin 6.3p, 4.6rb, 2.6a, 49% FG, 27% 3PT, 64% FT
Chen Shih-nian 2.6p
Lee Chi-yi 2.3p
Yang Chin-min 1.8p
Wu Yong-jen 1.8p
Yua Yin-li 1.5p

Taiwan vs. Opponents

FG% 43:46
3PT% 32:36
RB 38.1:45.6

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Asian Games - Taiwan to meet Kazakhstan in 7th-8th classification game

Coming off a heartbreaking double overtime loss to Qatar in the quarterfinal, Taiwan NT lost to Japan again, 78-67, Wednesday Taiwan time in a classification game. It will meet Kazakhstan, which lost to South Korea 94-74, in the 7th-8th classification game, its last game in Doha.

If Taiwan beat Kazakhstan, it will finish exactly the same spot as four years ago when it finished for 7th place in Pusan Asian Games. Kazakhstan won bronze in Pusan.

Taiwan NT did not look like a team that wanted to be there, playing sluggishly and carelessly all game long. Japan, which beat Taiwan 85-75 in the preliminary round, immediately jumped to a 22-8 lead and cruised thereafter.

Chen Hsin-an led Taiwan with 14 points while Tien Lei had 10 points and 13 boards. As a team, Taiwan committed 19 turnovers and shot 37 percent from the field and made only half of its foul shots.

Tomoo Amino had 15 points to pace Japan, which also received 14 points from veteran shooter Takehiko Orimo, who shot 4 of 7 from threes. Ryota Sakurai had 10 points while Kosuke Takeuchi pulled down 14 rebounds to go with 6 points.

Japan will meet South Korea in the 5th-6th classification game.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Asian Games - Taiwan lost to Qatar in 2OT quarterfinal battle

Taiwan lost to host Qatar, 103-96, in an epic 2OT battle in the quarterfinal of the Doha Asian Games early Wednesday Taiwan Time. No matter. Most believed it was its best game in the tournament and all the players left their harts on the court.

Up next Taiwan will play in the 5-8 classification games with the other three quarterfinal losers: Japan, South Korea and Kazakhstan. China, Qatar, Iran and Jordan advanced to the semifinals.

Veteran Yasseen Ismail Musa scored 8 points in an 11-4 second overtime to help Qataris clinch the victory over Taiwan, a team it lost twice in this year's Jones Cup tournament.

Taiwan missed a great opportunity to seal the game with a win in the first overtime.

Yang Che-yi was fouled in his layup attempt with 5 seconds to go, when the score was tied at 92 all, but had to be taken out because of cramp. Chou Shih-yuan, designated to replace Yang as the foul shooter, missed both potential game-winning free-throws as the game entered the second extra session.

Taiwan, which led by as many as 11 points in the first half, was plagued by Qatar's relentless attack under the basket in the second half as the host team made it a three point game with under two minutes to go in regulation.

Chen Hsin-an converted two free-throws to increase Taiwan's lead to four, 80-76, before Musa's three-point play again cut the lead down to one point with 55 seconds remaining. Chen then made one of two free-throws after Musa committed an offensive foul as Taiwan could almost smelled the victory with less than 10 seconds remaining.

But Erfan Ali Saeed made sure the home crowd would not go home disappointed, making two free-throws to tie the game with 4.5 seconds left. Chen's desperation three-pointer missed the rim as the game went into overtime.

Taiwan NT has received a lot of criticism from fans and the media since the preliminary games for its lack of effort and defeatism as head coach Lee Yun-kwang revealed before the start of the tournament that the team would literally "give up" two games vs. China and Lebanon.

It lost to Japan by 10 in what was perceived as a winnable game and was routed by China in a 36-point loss. But it managed to squeeze by Kazakhstan by two and surprisingly beat Lebanon, which -- like our Lebanese correspondent wrote -- was a team that looked like they didn't want to be in Doha, to secure a quarterfinal berth.

Given the fact that Qatar as the host country and a strong team, few people gave Taiwan NT a chance before the quarterfinal clash. Now they know how close they were to the semifinal. The game probably can be an inspiration for the team to work harder and look into a bigger picture in the future.

Qatar 103-96(2OT) Taiwan

Quarter and OT scores: 18-25, 38-41, 61-66, 81-81, 92-92, 103-96

Qatar: Erfan Ali Saeed 27p+15rb, Ali Turki Ali 20p, Saad Abdulrahman Ali 19p+8rb, Yasseen Ismail Musa 15p, Omar Abdelkadar Salem 11p+11rb

Taiwan: Chen Hsin-an 24p, Yang Che-yi 23p(6-8 3PT), Lee Hsueh-lin 16p+7rb+5a, Tsun Wen-ding 16p, Tien Lei 12p+19rb

Monday, December 11, 2006

Asian Games - Taiwan to meet host Qatar in quarterfinal

Taiwan pounded Uzbekistan 106-69 as expected in its last preliminary game and eventually ended up as the No. 4 seed in Gorup F after Kazakhstan beating Japan, 77-72. Taiwan will face host Qatar next in the quarterfinal.

Taiwan eked out a mere two point lead at the half as the team played as carelessly as it could in the first half. It finally put the game away in the third quarter and made the score out of reach with a 30-9 fourth quarter.

Tien Lei had a team-high 22 points while Chou Chih-yuan had his personal-high 20 points in the tournament. Lin Chi-jay had 19 points to go with 7 boards and 6 assists. Chen Hsin-an made three threes in 15 minutes.

Vyacheslav Belokurov had 20 to pace Uzbekistan, which committed 28 turnovers in the game and finished the preliminaries with five losses.

Kazakhstan beat Japan by five in the next game.

As Taiwan, Japan and Kazakhstan had a three-way tie with 3 wins and two losses. Japan secured its No. 2 seed with the best point differential (+5) in head-to-head matchups among three teams. Kazakhstan (+3) got the No. 3 seed while Taiwan finished fourth (-8).

The final preliminary of China vs. Lebanon is still going on but the final placings of two preliminary groups should be as follows:

Group E: 1. Qatar, 2. Jordan, 3. Iran, 4. South Korea
Group F: 1. China, 2. Japan, 3. Kazakhstan, 4. Taiwan

The quarterfinal matchup should go as follows:
E1 Qatar vs. F4 Taiwan
E2 Jordan vs. F3 Kazakhstan
E3 Iran vs. F2 Japan
E4 South Korea vs. F1 China

Taiwan NT routed Qatar -- not once, but twice -- in this year's Jones Cup tournament. But any sane person will not bet against the home team in a tournament like the Asian Games because of the hoe court advantage. Plus, the Jones Cup is only an invitational tournament.

Theoretically, Taiwan will be in the semifinals if it beat Qatar. But the reality is, it will be very very hard for Taiwan to improve on its previous finish -- 7th place -- in the Asian Games.

(The China-Lebanon game is still on)
Group E
1. Qatar 4-1
2. Jordan 4-1
3. Iran 3-2
4. South Korea 3-2
5. Syria 1-4
6. Bahrain 0-5

Group F
1. China 4-0
2. Japan 3-2
3. Kazakhstan 3-2
4. Taiwan 3-2
5. Lebanon 1-3
6. Uzbekistan 0-5

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Asian Games - Taiwan goes to quarterfinal with win over Lebanon

A brilliant shooting night gave Taiwan a convincing 86-72 victory over Lebanon and a seed in the Doha Asian Games quarterfinal.

Led by Tsun Wen-din and Tien Lei, who combined for 38 points and 28 rebounds, Taiwan had its best shooting performance in the tournament so far, making 13 three-pointers as a team with five players in double-figures, and led from start to finish in a do-or-die game for both teams.

The win guaranteed Taiwan's spot in the quarterfinal regardless of the result of its last group game vs. Uzbekistan on Dec. 10. And Lebanon, which has been ranked highly prior to the tournament, was virtually out of the final eight after its third loss in the Asian Games.

Taiwan opened the game with a 28-15 first quarter and increased the lead to 50-33 at the half, making almost every open shot versus Lebanon's 2-3 zone. Taiwan led by as many as 22 points in the first half as Chen Hsin-an and Tien Lei each scored 12 points.

Lebanon, which still looked rusty after a week in Doha, started the game without No.1 scorer Fadi El Khatib, who hurt his back in the last game vs. Kazakhstan. El Khatib did not enter the game until the third quarter and soon made his presence felt.

Lebanon kicked off the second half with a 12-4 run that cut the deficit to nine points. But Taiwan was determined to win this game and answered with a 11-2 run that pushed its lead back to 18 points in the end of the third quarter.

The best Lebanon could do in the final 10 minutes was cut the deficit to 11 points with less than 2:30 to go.

Tsun Wen-din led Taiwan with 21 points and 12 rebounds while Tien Lei had 17 points and 14 boards. Chen Hsin-an chipped in 14 points to go with 5 rebounds and 5 assists. Yang Che-yi scored 14. Chen Shih-nian, who made three threes in the second half to hold off Lebanon's rally, had 11 in the game.

Lebanon was outrebounded by Taiwan, 47-40. Joe Vogel led with 20 points and 9 boards. Fadi El Khatib had 15 points in only 19 minutes of playing time.

With only one game left for each team in the preliminary stage, the status of Group E is clear with Qatar, Jordan, Iran and South Korea ranking from first to 4th.

China should be able to get the top seed in Group F. The second to 4th seed of the group remained unclear. If Japan lost to China tonight, it has to beat Kazakhstan in its last game to secure the No.2 seed.

If Taiwan beat Uzbekistan, it will be the No. 3 seed in Group F if Japan beat Kazakhstan. If Kazkahstan beat Japan by less than 18 points, Taiwan will be No. 4. All this means Taiwan's possible opponents are either Jordan or Qatar in the single-elimination quarterfinal.

If Kazakhstan beat Japan by more than 18 points, it will be No. 2 while Taiwan ranking third and Japan dropping to No. 4.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Asian Games - Taiwan routed by China, 101-65

Taiwan NT did not "give up" the game versus China like what head coach Lee Yun-kwang hinted a couple days ago. Instead, the team played hard...for a quarter.

Taiwan was routed by China, 101-65, in its third preliminary game and is now tied with Lebanon and Kazakhstan with one win and two losses.

As Kazakhstan upset Lebanon 80-75 right before the Taiwan-China game, Kazakhstan will have an upper hand and advance to the quarterfinal if it eventually ties with Taiwan and Lebanon with the same won-loss record (The Kazakh lost to Taiwan by two but beat Lebanon by five).

Which means Taiwan vs. Lebanon game on Dec. 8 is a must-win game for both teams.

Taiwan trailed China by only one point, 24-23, after the first quarter. It led China 12-6 midway through the first period but China, led by Yi Jianlian, answered with an 11-0 run.

Taiwan failed to score in the first seven minutes of the second quarter as China pulled away with another 19-0 run and increased its lead to 19 points at the half. The second half was basically 20 minutes of garbage time.

Chen Hsin-an and Lin Chi-jay scored 14 points each for Taiwan while Tien Lei had 10 points. Taiwan was outrebounded by a humiliating 45-20 margin and attempted more shots from threes (30) than inside the arch (28).

Yi Jianlian made 12 of 13 shot en route to his best game in the tournament with 28 points and 9 boards. Zhu Fangyu had 18 points. Point guard Hu Xuefeng had 16 points. Wang Zhizhi had 13 and 8 while Wang Shipeng scored 11. China shot 63% from the field, including 52% from threes.

China and Japan led the Group F with 3-0 and both have secured quarterfinal seeds. Taiwan, Kazakhstan and Lebanon will vie for the two remaining seeds in the group.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Asian Games - Close win over Kazakhstan keeps Taiwan in contention

Tien Lei's game-saving block and Chen Hsin-an two free-throws with 10.4 seconds to go helped Taiwan edge Kazakhstan 81-79 in the Doha Asian Games Monday night as Taiwan got the win it desperately needed and stayed in the contention of quarterfianl seeds.

Taiwan is now tied with South Korea 1-1 in the Group F. China and Japan, which surprised Lebanon 78-67, led the group with two wins.

Leading by as many as 12 points, Taiwan almost let the win slip away in the second half when its players kept missing free-throws. Taiwan was 8 of 17 free-throws in the game.

Fortunately the Kazakh couldn't find the basket all game, shooting 4 of 25 from threes, which usually is its specialty. Leading scorer Anton Ponomarev shot only 3 for 18 and scored 7 points.

Taiwan was once again led by Chen Hsin-an's 24 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists. Tsun Wen-din had 12 points and 14 boards to go with 5 blocks. Tien Lei had 19 points and 4 blocks. Yang Che-yi scored 11.

Dmitriy Korovnikov had 19 points and 8 rebounds to pace Kazakhstan, which dropped two straight. Yevgeniy Issakov had 14 while Rustam Yargaliyev had 16.

In other games, China defeated Uzbekistan 91-68.


Group E
Qatar 2-0
Jordan 2-0
South Korea 1-1
Iran 1-1
Syria 0-2
Bahrain 0-2

Group F
China 2-0
Japan 2-0
Taiwan 1-1
Lebanon 1-1
Kazakhstan 0-2
Uzbekistan 0-2

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Asian Games - Taiwan in dire straits after loss to Japan

Suddenly, the scene of Taiwan NT not making the quarterfinals in the Doha Asian Games is becoming a possible reality as it dropped the opening game in the preliminary round to Japan, 85-75.

Missing out on the oppotunity to take down Japan, Taiwan NT now needs to beat Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to ensure a quarterfianl berth. The second game vs. Kazakhstan becomes a must-win.

Four-time JBL MVP Kenichi Sako, who was brought back to the national team, sanked a deciding three-pointer to increase Japan's lead to nine points with 1:41 left. Takuma Watanabe added another three around the one-minute mark to ice the game.

Taiwan led 42-41 at the intermission but was out of synch in the second half. Its 2-3 zone was not able to contain the Japanese, who shot 11 for 25 behind the three-point line, and its offense was unorganized as usual. As Japan hit hard with a 23-13 third quarter, Taiwan soon found itself trailing by 15 with six minutes to go.

Chen Hsin-an's consecutive threes brought Taiwanese within the single-digit deficit and ignited a 11-2 run to cut the deficit to six with 4:27 remaining, when the score was 77-71. But that was the best it could do as Japan pulled the last dagger with Sako and Watanabe's threes.

Chen Hsin-an scored 18 of his team-high 24 points in the first half. And 13 of those 18 points came in the first quarter, when he made 3 of 4 threes and entertained the crowd with two power slams.

Center Tsun Wen-din had 12 points and 9 boards in an average game for him. Tien Lei collected 12 points and 16 rebounds in 40 minutes, but he shot only 5 for 22. Lin Chi-jay had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds, although most of his shot selections were also questionable.

Taiwan head coach Lee Yun-kwang looked somewhat helpless in the game, playing only nine players in the game with only six of those on the court for more than 10 minutes.

Japan turned in a well-balanced performance in head coach Kimikazu Suzuki's national team debut. Backup point guard Shinsuke Kashiwagi led Japan with 16 points. Sako scored all of his 15 points from three-pointers, shooting 5 of 7 in the game. Eric McArthur had 12 points and 10 rebounds while Takuma Watanabe had 10.

In other games of the day, Lebanon pounded Uzbekistan 106-70 with Fadi El Khatib scoring a tournament-high 34 points.

Opening day scores:
Jordan beat Iran 62-59
Korea beat Bahrain 106-80
Qatar beat Syria 99-59

Friday, December 01, 2006

Correction about Lebanon coach

Correction about a mistake in my last article: Paul Coughter was not brought back to coach the Lebanese NT in the Asian Games in Doha.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Taiwan NT targets a top six finish in Doha

Taiwan men's NT will challenge a top six finish in the Doha Asian Games after a long six-month training, Taiwan NT head coach Lee Yun-kwang said prior to the team's departure.

Lee said Taiwan will have a hard time beating China or Lebanon, which has brought back head coach Paul Coughter. These two games are probably the ones Taiwan has to give up. (Lee did not use the term "give up" but it's basically what he meant.)

Taiwan needs to win at least two out of three games vs. Japan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to finish in the top three in the second round group, so it can have a prefereable matchup in the single-elimination quarterfinals.

The bad news is that designated starters Lee Chi-yi and Lee Hsueh-lin still have not fully recovered from their injuries, which forces Lee Yun-kwang to replace Lee Hsueh-lin with either Chen Shih-nian or Wu Yong-jen in the point guard position.

Chen Hsin-an is also a probable option in replacing Lee as the point guard, local newspaper reported.

The probable starting lineup for Taiwan is Chen Hsin-an, Lin Chi-jay, Tien Lei, Tsun Wen-din and Chen Shih-nian/or Yang Che-yi.

The first two games (vs. Japan on Dec. 2 and Kazakhstan on Dec. 4) will be the most important ones for Taiwan. This means Taiwan has a very short period of time to adjust to the environment after arriving at Doha, and its injured players need to recover quickly before it's too late.

Taiwan is bracketed in the same group in the second round with China, Lebanon, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Japan. It need to finish in the top four to advance to the single-elimination quarterfinals.

It's not easy for Taiwan to beat Japan and Kazakhstan, in my opinion. Japan will be a different team from the past few years, when the team went through a youth movement under former head coach Zeljko Pavlicevic -- a Croatian. New head coach Kimikazu Suzuki brought back a couple veterans and will obviously rely on their experience a lot.

Led by 6-10 phenom Anton Ponomarev, Kazakhstan has been a surprising team in Asia in the last two years. Any team that underestimate the Kazakh will be in trouble as they are prolific from the three-point range and have vastly improved in the paint.

Taiwan needs to beat Japan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan not only for a better seed in the quarterfinal but also for boosting its self-confidence, which has been lacking in the past.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Wu Dai-hao starts sophomore year at BYUH

Wu Dai-hao, who was named conference freshman of the year last year, started his sophomore year at BYU-Hawaii (Div-II) with a bang and led BYUH to a 4-0 record.

Wu had 22 points (6-8 FG, 10-12 FT), 10 rebounds, 7 assists, 5 blocks and 3 steals in the season opening game. He is averaging 11.8 points, 6.8 points, 3.5 assists and 2.8 blocks for the season, also shooting 61.6 percent from the field and 86.4 percent at the free-throw line.

The 6-9, 232-pounder spent last season mostly learning the American basketball and adjusting to the environment. As BYUH lost its key players to graduation, Wu is expected to play an even important role this season at the forward and center spot.

Plagued by foul troubles all season long last year, Wu will have to improve his defensive judgement this year as he has no problem scoring in Division II basketball.

Last season his minutes and role on the team suffered due to foul troubles. After starting the season as a starter, Wu mostly came off the bench during the second half of the last season.

Friday, November 24, 2006

06-07 SBL season to tipoff Jan. 6 next year

Local newspapers reported that the final tipoff date of the 2006-07 SBL season has been finally decided by the SBL committee. The new season will begin on January 6, 2007, after the Doha Asian Games.

It's probably unfathomable for folks that are unfamiliar with Taiwanese basketball to know that the tipoff date was not decided until 44 days before the new season, but it's not that shocking for those who have been watching Taiwanese ball.

Anyway, the marketing guys of SBL teams (if they have any...) and the main sponsors, broadcasting TV stations, and all those staffs will have a busy and hectic month.

Venue will be another concern for the league as the gym it has been using for the last three years -- the TPEC Gym(Taipei Physical Education Gymnaisum) -- is scheduled to be tear down and reconstructed at the same location in mid 2007.

Also because of the scheduling problem, the SBL games between mid March and mid April next year are forced to move away from Taipei city to Tainan, a southern city; Sinjhuang, a satellite city on the outskirts of Taipei; and Miaoli, a mountain town in middle Taiwan.

It's not that there is no qualified gyms in Taipei city to house SBL games. The Taipei Arena (capacity 14,000) and National Taiwan University Gym (capacity 6,000) are both state-of-the-art venues for basketball. However the SBL will have problem paying high rents, which makes it virtually impossible to play there.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The fourth year crisis

History repeats itself. From what we've seen so far, Taiwanese semi-pro (or pro basketball...whatever you want to call it...) basketball is facing the "fourth year crisis" again.

By saying this, I mean to tell you that the SBL is facing a potential downfall if it does not learn from the lessons of the defunct CBA (Chinese Basketball Alliance) -- the pro league that folded in 1999 after a brief 5-year existence.

It's always refreshing and exciting for basketball fans to see a new league, especially one that showcases enormous local talents and presents tough competition.

That was the case in 1994, when the CBA was established. And it was why it has had relative success, in terms of attendence, fan support and media attention, and afterward ignited a bidding war on broadcasting rights among local TV stations.

While all the ballclubs did was split the tens of thousands of dollars of the TV contract and nothing else, the league failed to improve on its marketing, facility, game operation and customer services. In addition, player salaries skyrocketed due to constant fighting between teams to get players.

In the end, the averaged attendence gradually went down. And teams were not profitable at all, so they asked for even higher broadcasting rights fee from TV partners.

Doesn't it look like what is happening right now with the SBL? The league gained some success after the first two to three years and the "greed factor" came out. The SBL committee did not lay out the plan for the next three years, did not improve the venue, did not discuss league regulations and system. All they wanted was more money from sponsors.

So what will happen? Will the SBL repeat the same mistake the CBA had seven years ago? Let's wait and see. From what I've seen, it's not optimistic.

Lo Shin-liang signs with Taiwan Beer

Min-sheng Daily reported that Lo Shin-liang, the No.3 scorer in the SBL last season with a 20.3 point average, has signed with Taiwan Beer. Lo failed to sign the contract extension with his former team YMY. At Taiwan Beer, he will reunite with his former Sina teammate Chou Jun-san, who was traded to TB from ETSN in the summer.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Thoughts before the Doha Asian Games

Taiwan NT needs to do well in Doha, concerning the uncertainty of the fourth SBL season and the fact that Taiwan has been out of top eight in Asia for so long.

Word from China was that Lebanon, which is in the same group with Taiwan and China, has pulled out of the Asian Games, although no report from Lebanon side was found to back up the rumor.

However, it's not a issue of Taiwan's concern. Taiwan NT needs to play its every game like its last no matter Lebanon is playing or not.

I have asked some friends to predict where Taiwan will finish in Doha. The common answer is between 5th- to 7th-place. It seems to me that no one is optimistic for a semifinal berth.

The fact is Taiwan not only can't keep up with China, South Korea and Lebanon, but also has a hard time to pull a win over West Asia and Gulf zone teams (Ex: Iran) and even Japan.

On the bright side, it's going to be the first time that three top players -- Chen Hsin-an, Tien Lei and Lin Chi-jay -- will play on the same team in a top-level Asian tournament. In the past Taiwan NT always entered major Asian tournaments with incomplete roster for whatever reason, as I mentioned previously. It will be exciting to see these three young men to play together and, hopefully, make things happen.

Personally, I think this is going to be the "final exam" for head coach Lee Yun-kwang, who has neither improved Taiwan's performance not improved players' individual game in his five-year tenure. Fans and media have been tired of all those excuses Lee and Taiwan NT had for poor performance: injuries, unfair bracket, unfair officiating...blahblahblah.

It's time for Lee and Taiwan NT to shut up and play. And I'm all for hring foreign coaches if Lee fails to bring home a better result.

Taiwan NT in Korea again

Taiwan NT is in Korea for its second training tour in the nation for the preparation of the Doha Asian Games. It is 4-0 on the tour so far with four more games to go. Its opponents are all Korea university teams. Taiwan NT seeked to warm up with Korea NT in the tour but did not succeed.

There are two more injured players -- guard Lee Hsueh-lin and Wu Yong-jen -- on Taiwan NT roster. Both are questionable for the Asian Games.

The team will come back to Taiwan on Nov. 18 and leave for Doha on Nov. 27. It will meet Japan in the first preliminary game on Dec. 2 in Doha.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The interesting case of Vita Genomics

Just like I wrote before, Taiwanese basketball never cease surprising us all. The latest case of Vita Genomics -- this year's A-League winner which wanted to get a foot in the SBL so badly -- was a perfect case.

First thing first. Vita Genomics lost all three games so far (I couldn't even find the result of its last game, but it didn't matter anyway) in the "qualification games", which was played from Nov. 6-11, and will not be able to join the SBL next season.

What is the qualification games? It was supposed to be a "relegation games" which have the A-League winner and the 6th- and 7th-place SBL teams to play a double round robin games with the last-placed team in the games demoted to the A-League next year.

However, ETSN and YMY -- the 6th- and 7th-place SBL teams last season -- refused to be demoted ! The very "considering" SBL Committee then decide to make it a qualification games, which means the games will be played to determine whether the A-League winner is qualified to join the SBL or not and no current SBL teams will be demoted.

Vita Genomics lost to YMY twice by the scores of 118-100 and 97-79, and lost to ETSN 99-78 in the series. The results showed the big competition gap between the amateur league and the semi-pro SBL.

Funny thing was that the committee never announced how Vita Genomics can join the league. Will it be able to join if it finshed the seires 4-0? 3-1? 2-2? 1-3? The answer is: nobody knows. Word was that no matter how Vita Genomics performed, it would take a negotiation with current SBL teams to determine the final outcome.

Which makes you wonder: why bother playing all those games if it takes another round of negotiation?

Another funny thing was that the Vita Genomics-ETSN game on Nov.8 was called off by the refs, according to the official FIBA rules, with less than two minutes remaining because there was only one Vita player on the court.

Vita, with many of its core players playing on the same night in the university league, could only dress seven players for the game. Some of Vita players were emergency loans from other A-League teams.

In the second half Vita lost two players for disqualifications and was forced to play the remaining five players. But they couldn't avoid foul trouble. With less than two minutes to go, the game was called off because Vita was left with only one player on the court.

Anyway, it seems to me that the SBL teams simply will not allow Vita enter the league unless it agrees to pay a large amount of admission fee. On the other hand, Vita needs to secure its players (and maybe find a team manager before that...) if it is serious about entering the SBL.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

New SBL season still up in the air

Based on the last three years of the development of the SBL, the semi-pro league can be seen as relatively successful. The emergence of the star power and team competitiveness in Taiwanese basketball brought back fans’ attention as the infant league received more and more fan support and commercial success. However, as we approach the fourth SBL season, doubts arise.

The SBL Committee, the decision-making body of the league, reached an agreement Sep. 16 that the winner of A-League, which became the second division basketball after the SBL established, is qualified for a double round robin “relegation games.” The third-place team will be dropped to the A-League while the others stay (or be promoted) in the SBL.

Which means Vita Genomics, this year’s A-League winner, will compete with ETSN and YMY, which ranked 6th and 7th last season in the relegation games.

Problem is YMY claimed it lost five players and had another five in the U-20 NT training camp and refused to take part in the games. The committee then said the relegation games has been renamed to “qualification games”, which means if Vita Genomics ranks in the top two in the qualification games, it can be promoted to the SBL; ETSN and YMY will not be dropped no matter how they perform in the games.

Anyway, no one knows when the games will be played. No one knows that, if Vita Genomics does qualified for the promotion, when can it be promoted to the SBL – in 06-07 season or 07-08 season. Some team representatives also claimed Vita should pay an amount of right fee before it’s allowed to join the league.

The chaos didn’t end there. On Oct. 12 the Committee announced that ESPN Taiwan and Videoland were selected as joint partners for SBL’s broadcasting rights and marketing rights at a price tag of NT$ 56 million (US$ 1.7 million), up from last season’s NT$ 35 million.

The decision made clear that the Taipei Arena, which was owned by the mother group of ETSN Antelopes, had lost the marketing rights battle to Videoland, which also owns a SBL team, and ESPN Taiwan.

But the Taipei Arena refused to give up as it knew the league had problem finding venues to play in. The Taipei Physical Education College Gymnasium (TPEC Gym), the venue that housed SBL games for the last three years, is due to be reconstructed in June, 2007. The date is after the conclusion of the 2006-07 SBL season, but TPEC Gym also hosts university games in March and April 2007, which means the SBL will need to find an alternative venue during that time.

Until now, the SBL Committee has not announced its final decision yet. Will it stay with its original decision? Will it let the Taipei Arena re-enter as a bidder? Either way, it’s going to be an ugly battle all over again.

With the administration mess mentioned above, the opening date of the new season has not been decided. Previously the leagues announced that the 2006-07 SBL season will tip off on Dec. 31, 2006.

In player transaction news, former NT player Lo Shin-liang failed to reach agreement with YMY on contract extension and left the team. He is still unsigned.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Sanders, Thomas to give SBL a new look

Jonathan Sanders and Delvin Thomas, the only two import players who will play in the SBL next season, were featured in local Ming-shen Daily Sunday. The arrival of Sanders, who will play for Videoland Hunters, and Thomas, who joined ETSN Antelopes, is expected to give the SBL a new look in the new season.

If you wonder why a couple of imports attracted so much attention. Think about this. Sanders and Thomas are the first group of import players in Taiwan in seven years! There have been no import players in Taiwan since 1999, when the defunct professional league CBA (Chinese Basketball Alliance) folded.

Both of them have been practicing with their teams for a while and will be paid US$ 6,000 monthly. It's not good, but Taiwan is a good and convenient place to live and has a good reputation of paying foreign players. I guess that balanced the salary somehow.

Sanders attracted Hunters' attention when he played with Niigata Albirex in the APB tournament in August. Niigata did not play well in the tournament but Sanders had a couple of big games in the tourney. Hunters targeted 6-7 Sanders, a St. Mary's (CA) graduate, for his ability to play inside and out, his explosiveness to the hoop and positive attitude on the court.

(Excuse me for a mistake in the prevous report. Sanders played for Niigata Albirex in the APB, not LG Sakers.)

It didn't take long for Sanders to be popular, Ming-shen Daily reported. Fans asked for autographs and brought Sanders gifts after his third practice with the team.

"I want to bring the Hunters back to a top four finish and preferably a championship, " said Sanders, who idolizes Magic Johnson growing up.

Hunters coaching staff is not disappointed either. Lin Jia-huang and Hsiung Jen-jen, Hunters' assistants, described Sanders a player with unselfishness, good court vision and passing ability, something not usually seen in imports.

"But he is capable of taking over the game if he has to, " the coaching staff said.

With a 6-9 wingspan and a muscular body, Delvin Thomas will be asked to dominate the paint offensively and defensively for the Antelopes, which has been weak in the middle.

Thomas surprised his new boss and teammates in the first practice, smashing the backboard with one of his powerful dunks. ETSN, which has to rent for practice facility due to lack of a home court, had to compensate for the backboard. But the team was more than happy.

"That obviously showed his determination and attitude, " an ETSN coach said.

Thomas, who graduated from Bethune-Cookman, also set a goal of bringing the Antelopes back to top four. He credited former NBA great Tim Hardaway, who played with Thomas in the ABA last year, for teaching him many things on the court.

ETSN head coach Chiu Da-tsun believed Thomas will be a valuable addition for the team because of his experiences in Germany, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Finland and minor leagues such as the ABA and WBA.

The 2006-07 SBL season will not begin until after the Doha Asian Games, which means the opening night of the regular season may fall on 2007. Sanders and Thomas will have a lot of time getting to adjust to a new environment and their teammates.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Examine the position of Taiwanese basketball

So here we are. Nearly five and a half years after the total shakeup of Taiwan national team and a silver medal it won in Osaka East Asian Games (EAG), what has Taiwanese basketball become?

Is it better because of the youth movement that dropped the veterans a couple years earlier? Is it worse? I guess the answer is the latter.

Let the numbers talk first. Take a look at how it did in recent Asian tournaments.

Senior national team:
2001 East Asian Games (Osaka) 2nd
2002 Asian Games (Pusan) 7th …all-time worst
2003 Asian Championship 11th …all-time worst
2004 Stankovic Cup 3rd
2005 Asian Championship 9th
2005 East Asian Games (Macao) 1st

Junior national team:
2002 Asian Championship 6th
2004 Asian Championship 6th
2006 Asian Championship 4th

Taiwan did finish in the top three in the 2001 and 2005 East Asian Games (winning gold in Macao) and the 2004 Stankovic Cup. But those tournaments were considered second-tier in the region with stronger countries sending their second national teams or junior teams.

In the more competitive tournaments like the Asian Championships and Asian Games, Taiwan faltered, setting two all-time worst records in final placing.

On the junior side, making to the semifinal this year was its best performance in six years.

The performances obviously did not justify or reveal the real strength of Taiwan, one of the most basketball-crazy countries in Asia.

It makes you wonder why a team with these players failed to live up to its potentials. Taiwan national team boasts Chen Hsin-an, who was dubbed in 1998 as one of the most promising young players along with Yao Ming and Yuta Tabuse and became the first Taiwanese invitee in the NBA pre-season training camp in 2002 with the Sacramento Kings and the Denver Nuggets in 2003.

The team has 202cm forward Tien Lei, who has as quick a jump as you can imagine and a soft shooting touch rarely seen in big men. Tien was in Kings’s summer camp in 2004.

The team also has 204cm center Tsun Wen-din, who many foreign teams expressed interests, and 204cm center-forward Wu Dai-hao, who just completed his first year with BYU-Hawaii, a Division-II school in the United States.

In addition, the team has 192cm dynamite Lin Chi-jay, the reigning SBL leading scorer who can break down opponents with his explosive first step and crossover moves and knock down jumpers consistently from 20 feet.

The players have been playing together year round, so chemistry will not be a problem. And obviously they belong in the most talented group in Taiwanese basketball history.

Which brings us to the issues of coaching and training. Lee Yun-kwang, head coach of Yulon, took over the national team in 2001. At the time he was a young coach who didn’t have any head-coaching experience and was still learning the nuances of coaching.

For a young and inexperienced team like Taiwan, it needs an experienced head coach to develop players as well as getting good results in the international competition. The reason is simple, there’s no time to let the coaches and the players to learn at the same time. At least that’s my theory.

In terms of training, the CTBA (Chinese Taipei Basketball Association) failed to organize an effective and professional national team program. All it did, it seemed to me, was send the team overseas and see what happens. Taiwan NT always went to China, Korea or the U.S., scrimmaging with second-fiddle American players or playing Chinese and Korean teams without purpose.

After the long road trip, players either got hurt or got sick of basketball by the tournament started. It was partially why Chen Hsin-an missed three straight Asian Championships and why the team always entered the major Asian tournament with incomplete lineups.

Without good coaching, training program and scouting, Taiwan NT always lost the most important preliminary games that would have sent them into the final eight in the Asian Championship, dropping heartbreakers to countries such as Iran and Kazakhstan.

To sum up the position of Taiwan NT, their defense sucks. They are afraid of playing physical game and can’t win the important ones either.

The national team program of Taiwan national team should come back to square one and start from the fundamentals. The quick solution, in my opinion, will be hiring a seasoned foreign coach. Give him all the resources and authorities he needs and at least two to three years.

Otherwise, it will be very hard for Taiwan to be in the top eight in Asia, let alone top four.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Two import players only in 06-07 SBL

Jonathan Sanders and Delvin Thomas will be the only import players in the next SBL season due to a special import-hiring system the league applies.

In order to achieve the "balance of power, " the SBL claimed, the league will allow non-playoff teams to hire import players starting in the 2006-07 season. Which means ETSN Antelopes, Videoland Hunters and YMY are allowed to hire one import player.

However, hiring import player is an optional decision. YMY decided not to hire imports due to small budget, making ETSN and Videoland the only teams with import players next season.

Jonathan Sanders, who played for Korea's LG Sakers in the APB tournament which was played in Taiwan in August, signed with Videoland at about 6,000 USD per month. ETSN signed Delvin Thomas with about the same price last week.

25 year-old forward Sanders graduated from St. Mary's College and lastly played in Lithuania. He did not sign with LG.

6-7 bruiser Delvin Thomas, 28, played in Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, ABA, and WBA after finishing college career at Bethune Cookman. He was tested by Finland's Pyrinto Tampere but did not sign.

The 2006-07 SBL season is expected to tipoff in December after the Doha Asian Games.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Taiwan NT lost to LG Sakers in Korea

Taiwan NT lost to LG Sakers in its sixth of eight warmup games in South Korea Sunday for the preparation of the Doha Asian Games. Taiwan was 2-4 after six games.

Chen Hsin-an scored 26 points in two quarters. Tsun Wen-din had 15 points while Lin Chi-jay scored 13. Point guard Chen Shih-nian had 12 points.

Taiwan NT will have an off-day on Monday and meet Kyung Hee University and Yonsei University on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Fatigue led to first loss for Taiwan NT

Taiwan NT dropped its first warmup game in South Korea 99-89 to SK Knights in Seoul Monday due to fatigue after the flight. Lin Chi-jay led with 24 points while Chen Hsin-an and Tsun Wen-din each scored 15 points.

Taiwan NT suited up 10 players for the game. Forward Lee Chi-yi hurt his ankle in the practice and did not play. Tien Lei, who was diagnosed a stress fracture, stayed home and did not make the trip.

The team will play eight warmup games in South Korea for the preparation of the Dona Asian Games.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Taiwan named 8th seed in Doha Asian Games by FIBA Asia

Sources in CTBA said that Taiwan has been named by FIBA Asia as the 8th seed in men's basketball event of the 2006 Doha Asian Games and doesn't have to play in the first round as the original draw by Doha organizing committee announced.

The organizing committee announced on Sep. 9 that a new two-phase system will be implemented in Doha Asian Games men's basketball since there are as many as 20 countries enter the tournament.

Twelve countries will have to play in a four-group preliminary games in the first phase with four group winners advance to the second phase along with eight seeds in the 12-team second phase.

The organizing committee announced the eight seeds without elaborating the seeding format. On paper, it looked like the top eight teams in the 2005 Asian Championship were seeded and get to skip the first phase. Taiwan was left out of the top eight seeds.

Since 8th-place Saudi Arabia decided not sending a team to Doha, its seed will have to be replaced. However it was Kazakhstan, which finished 10th-place in 2005 Asian Championship, and not Taiwan -- 9th-place in 2005 -- was placed as the 8th seed.

FIBA Asia ruled the draw invalid and later gave Taiwan the seed it deserved. Taiwan NT head coach Lee Yun-kwang welcomed the change.

The new bracket is listed below:

First Phase
Group A: India, Macau, Bahrain
Group B: Uzbekistan, Palestine, Mongolia
Group C: Hong Kong, Syria, Afghanistan
Group D: Kuwait, Kazakhstan, UAE

Second Phase
Group A: Qatar, South Korea, Jordan, Iran, A1, C1
Group B: China, Lebanon, Japan, Taiwan, B1, D1

Taiwan will receive a bye in the first phase and is in the same second phase bracket with China, Lebanon, Japan, and winner of Group B and Group D in the first phase.

On NT news, Taiwan men's NT will leave for South Korea tomorrow for a 8-game training tour.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Asian Games 12-man roster for Taiwan NT set

Tien Lei suffered a shin injury and will be out for 4-6 weeks, thus making him questionable for the Asian Games in Doha. Veteran point guard Chen Chih-chun is out of the Asian Games for foot injury.

Name, DOB, Height, Weight
TIEN, Lei 1983.06.01 202 88
CHEN, Hsin-An 1980.07.01 196 90
WU, Yong-Jen 1982.09.22 177 75
LEE, Hsueh-Lin 1984.01.31 176 75
YANG, Chin-Min 1984.01.23 188 85
LIN, Chi-Jay 1982.06.11 192 93
CHEN, Shih-Nian 1984.04.08 182 79
CHOU, Shih-Yuan 1983.11.16 190 80
YANG, Che-Yi 1978.10.20 193 87
YUA, Ying-Li 1984.08.09 195 85
TSUN, Wen-Din 1984.07.06 202 90
LEE, Chi-Yi 1978.10.27 200 90

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Taiwan couldn't hold off Cuba, drops opening game in WC

Taiwan failed to protect a 16-point lead and lost to America champion Cuba 75-70 in its opening game in the FIBA World Championship for Women. Taiwan will meet France (Euro #5) in the second prelim.

Taiwan 70-75 Cuba (47-33)
TWN - Liu Chun-yi 14+9, Tsai Pei-chen 12, Sun Chieh-ping 12, Chiang Feng-chun 12, Wen Chi 11
CUB - Y. Boulet 36+16, Plutin 20

AUB Day 2 - Taiwan beat Mongolia 90-55

Led by Hsu Wei-shen's 15 points and 8 rebounds, Taiwan All-Stars beat Mongolia 90-55 in the second day of the AUB tournament and split the first two games.

What was incredible was two teams combined for an astonishing 59 turnovers in the game (Taiwan 28, Mongolia 31.)

Myonji Univ. from Korea pounded Hong Kong All-Stars 92-72.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

AUB Day 1 Results

Sep. 11
Myongji University 87-80 Taiwan All-Stars
Yen Chen-hong 19, Chien Jia-hong 14+11, Chang Yi-wen 12, Lin Yi-huei 12
Northeastern Univ. 94-70 Hong Kong All-Stars

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Asian University Men's Basketball Championship to be played in Taipei

Five teams will play in the inaugural Asian University Men's Basketball Championship (AUB) from Sep. 11-17, organizers announced Sunday.

Participating teams included Mongolia, Hong Kong University All-Stars, Myongji University of South Korea, Northeastern University of China, and Taiwan University All-Stars.

A single round robin preliminary round will be followed by a crossover semifinal and final.

A trio from National Taiwan Normal University -- Su Yi-chieh, Lin Yi-huei and Chien Jia-hong -- are expected to carry the host Taiwan. Su, SBL's reigning Rookie of the Year, and Lin both play for Dacin while Chien plays for YMY.

Taiwan University All-Stars roster:

Su Yi-chieh 181cm 72kg 1987.01.28
Chen Jun-chieh 180cm 74kg 1982.06.14
Cheng Chang-jun 176cm 71kg 1980.10.11
Chen Shun-hsiang 190cm 85kg 1985.05.25
Lin Yi-huei 193cm 85kg 1986.03.24
Lu Cheng-ju 194cm 88kg 1986.08.23
Hsu Wei-shen 198cm 90kg 1986.03.23
Wang Jian-wei 190cm 91kg 1985.01.07
Hong Yin-chieh 200cm 87kg 1986.01.06
Chien Jia-hong 196cm 105kg 1987.03.06
Chang Yi-wen 185cm 84kg 1984.04.13
Yen Chen-hong 196cm 87kg 1986.02.05

Head coach: Chen Chun-cheng
Coach: Liu Jun-yeh, Chan Bing-chun

183cm Lu Chu-wei, a shooting guard, is Hong Kong's best player.

Northeastern University claimed Chinese universities title in June when they beat Guangdong University of Technology 3-1 in the University Super League. 200cm Lee Zhenyang averaged 20.8 points in the 4-game series. 196cm guard Lu yao scored 30 points in Game 4 and was named MVP.

The Chinese team also recruited four alumni for the trip, including 208cm center Gu Liye, Lu Wei (194cm), Wang Shen (190cm), and Li Xiaoxu (204cm). All four players play for Liaoning in the CBA.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Asian Games Men's basketball draw ignited controversy

2006 Doha Asian Games organizing committee announced its men's basketball draw Thursday and immediately ignited controversy as Taiwan was left out of the top eight seeds. Local report said FIBA Asia has ruled the draw invalid.

According to the organizing committee, a new two-phase system will be implemented in Doha Asian Games men's basketball since there are as many as 20 countries enter the tournament.

Twelve countries will have to play in a four-group preliminary games in the first phase with four group winners advance to the second phase along with eight seeds in the 12-team second phase.

The organizing committee announced the eight seeds without elaborating the seeding format. On paper, it looked like the top eight teams in the 2005 Asian Championship were seeded and get to skip the first phase.

Since 8th-place Saudi Arabia decided not sending a team to Doha, its seed will have to be replaced. However it was Kazakhstan, which finished 10th-place in 2005 Asian Championship, and not Taiwan -- 9th-place in 2005 -- was placed as the 8th seed.

The decision to place China (2005 Asian Championship champ), Lebanon (runner-up) and Japan (5th) in the same group in the second phase was also controversial. Observers think host Qatar placed itself in the easier group.

Min-shen Daily reported Saturday that FIBA Asia has informed the organizing committee about the questionable seeding and competition system.

FIBA Asia stated that it has the final call on the system and seeding in major Asian competitions. It will hold a re-draw and designate the play system in a future date.

Doha Asian Games organizing committee announced the men's basketball draw and play system as follows:

First Phase
Group A: India, Macau, Bahrain
Group B: Uzbekistan, Palestine, Mongolia
Group C: Hong Kong, Syria, Afghanistan
Group D: Kuwait, Taiwan, UAE

Second Phase
Group A: Qatar, South Korea, Jordan, Iran, A1, C1
Group B: China, Lebanon, Japan, Kazakhstan, B1, D1

Taiwan lost to Lebanon, finished 4th in Asian Junior Men

Taiwan Men's Junior NT lost to Lebanon 83-60 in the bronze medal game of Asian Junior Men's Championship and finished for 4th place in the tournament, failing to win a ticket to the 2007 World Jnuior Men's Championship in Vancouver, Canada.

Still, it's the best finish for Taiwan in Asian Junior Men since 2000, when it won bronze.

Taiwan lost to South Korea 72-66 in the semifinal game Friday night. China beat Lebanon 119-66 in the other semi.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Taiwan in Asia Championship for Junior Men semi

Taiwan Junior men's NT upset Kazakhstan 79-75 in its final second round game Wednesday night to advance to the semifinal of the 2006 FIBA Asia Championship for Junior Men, which is taking place in Urumqi, China.

Taiwan will meet South Korea in the semifinal Friday. Win or lose, this is going to be Taiwan's best finish in Asia Junior Men since 2000, when it finished for bronze. Taiwan was 6th- and 5th-place in 2002 and 2004.

The best finish is six years is not the only goal for Taiwan Junior. It will try to beat South Korea for one of three seeds for Asia in the World U-19 Men's Championship, which will be played in Vancouver, Canada next year.

Height disadvantage didn't stop Taiwanese from fighting for a semifinal berth, as it led from start to finish with small margins, leading 40-35 at the half. Chang Tsun-hsien and Lo Yu-chun had 19 points each, while center Tsai Jun-ming scored 14 points.

China will meet Lebanon in the other semifinal game.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

2006 Taiwan Junior NT

Yang Cheng-lun, 178cm PG
Lo Yu-chun, 185cm PG
Peng Jun-yen, 182cm PG
Wu Min-shien, 186cm SG
Lin Yi-fu, 186cm SG/SF
Hu Yu-cheng, 185cm SG
Chang Tsun-shien, 188cm SF
Hsieh Chen-yang, 192cm PF
Wu Jian-long, 194cm PF
Chen Yao-ting, 195cm PF
Tsai Jun-min, 196cm C
Wu Hong-shin, 200cm C

Head coach: Tien Ben-yu
Assistant coach: Hsieh Yu-chuan

Taiwan women's NT for 2006 World Championship

Head Coach: HUNG, Ling-Yao
Coach: WANG, Ling
Assistant Coach: CHANG, Hui-Yin

Name D.O.B Height Weight
CHEN, Yi-Feng 1984.11.13 171 56
CHIEN, Wei-Chuan 1971.03.08 171 60
CHIANG, Feng-Chun 1981.10.25 183 78
SUN, Chieh-Ping 1983.01.10 172 61
LAN, Jui-Yu 1983.08.02 170 62
CHU, Yung-Hsu 1981.01.08 177 69
WEN, Chi 1984.10.15 167 58
LIN, Hui-Mei 1981.12.11 177 76
LIN, Chi-Wen 1983.08.19 186 65
TSAI, Pei-Chen 1984.05.27 186 78
LIU, Chun-Yi 1981.01.23 180 78
LEE, Wan-Ting 1986.12.23 180 69
CHEN, Yu-Chun 1987.03.07 176 70

Taiwan U-18's roadblock to semi - Kazakhstan

Taiwan men's U-18 will face Kazakhstan in the final second round game Wednesday night to vie for a seed in the Asian U-18 semifinals in Urumqi, China, after splitting its last two games.

Taiwan was routed by China, 101-57, as expected Tuesday with Chang Tsun-shien again leading the team in scoring with 21 points. The team beat Kuwait 107-76 Monday. A victory over Kazakhstan will put Taiwan in the second place in Group I, behind China.

But it will not be easy. Half of Kazak players played in this year's Jones Cup and showed enormous potential. The leader of the pack is 6-10 forward/center Anton Ponomarev, who averaged 20.1 points (#3) and 9.1 rebounds (#2) in the Jones Cup.

Taiwan head coach Tien Ben-yu made clear Ponomarev will be the primary concern for Taiwanese defense. Dmitriy Klimov is another player to keep an eye on.

Injured Chen Yao-ting and Lin Yi-fu are questionable for the game, which hurt the Taiwanese because both have been starters.

Taiwan is expected to counter Kazakhstan, who has the height advantage, with zone defense, Tien said.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Taiwan Junior wins preliminary group in Asian U-18 Men

Led by Chang tsun-hsien's 20 points, Taiwan U-18 men's NT routed Singapore 78-41 Sunday and wrapped up the preliminaries in the Asian U-18 Men's Championship, which is taking place in Urumqi, China, with its third straight easy wins. Taiwan won Group A and will face Kuwait in the second round tonight.

Eight second-round qualifiers are bracketed into two groups:

Group I - A1 Taiwan, B2 Kazakhstan, C1 China, D2 Kuwait
Group II - A2 Iran, B1 Korea, C2 Japan, D1 Lebanon

Group II are regarded as the tougher group as it was packed with the defending champ Iran, Korea -- runner-up two years ago, and Lebanon, which ranked third in 2004.

Lebanon Junior is led by Paul Coughter, Lebanon's head coach in the World Men's Championship in Japan.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Taiwan women's NT head for Brazil without center Cheng

Taiwan women's NT left for Brazil for the 2006 FIBA World Championship for Women Saturday without starting center Cheng Huei-yun, who made the painful decision to sit out the competition because of a severe knee injury.

Cheng's absence will hurt Taiwan a great deal, as she was basically Taiwan's only inside presence with international experience. Without Cheng, the team will have rely even heavier on its outside shooting and speed.

What's worse. Veteran Chien Wei-chuan (Rosa Chien), one of the most respectable guards in Asia, sustained a left hand injury and had six stitches on the eve of departure. Chien's injury obviously caused another concern.

Taiwan women's NT is bracketed in the same group with Czech Republic, Cuba and France. Head coach Hung Ling-yao said Czech will be the toughest opponent in the group and her team will have to beat either Cuba or France in order to go to the next round.

In its 4th appearance in the prestigious event, Taiwan women's NT will try to go for its best finish in history. Taiwan finished 12th, 14th and 14th respectively in 1986, 1994 and 2002.

Taiwan 2-0 in Asian U-18 Men's Championship

Taiwan NT is now 2-0 in the prelims at the 2006 Asian U-18 Men's Championship, which is being held in Urumqi, China, after beating defending champ Iran and India.

Taiwan routed Iran 87-59 in its opening game Friday as Chang Tsun-hsien led the team with 21 points. Chen Yao-ting had 18 points and 8 boards while center Tsai Chun-ming added 16 and 9.

Another lopsided win followed on Saturday, when Taiwan pounded India 96-54.

Interestingly, what was buzzing Urumqi was the team's female coaches -- Tian Pen-yu (Hsin-jung HS) and Hsieh Yu-chuan (San-min HS.) Maybe it's rare to see a men's national team coaching staff conprised exclusively by women.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Kobe Bryant to visit Taiwan

U.S. basketball star Kobe Bryant, who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, will make a whirlwind 24-hour visit to Taiwan Sept. 7, Nike Taiwan announced at a press conference Friday.

Bryant, who will be visiting Taiwan for the first time, will meet 4,000 fans in the National Taiwan University Gymnasium, where he will conduct a short basketball clinic, according to Nike Taiwan General Manager Roxanne Chiu.

Bryant will meet the local media at a press conference and will leave for Seoul the next day, Chiu said.

Taiwan is the third stop for Bryant on his Sep. 4- 9 Asia Tour, which also includes Tokyo, Hong Kong, Seoul and Beijing.

However, he is not expected to put on an extensive demonstration or competition as he is still in rehabilitation following knee surgery in July.

(Source: Central News Agency)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Perth Wildcats claims Asia Professional Basketball crown

Perth Wildcats beat LG Sakers 86-64 Saturday to win the inaugural Asia Professional Basketball tournament, which means the Wildcats can say they are the best pro club in Asia -- period. The Wildcats won all 8 games they've played.

In the third-place game, Taiwan NT broke the game open in the second half and beat Niigata Albirex 75-58. The game was tied 32-32 at halftime but the host ended the third quarter with a 11-2 run and cruised in the final period.

Tien Lei had 18 points and 12 rebounds and Tsun Wen-din had 18 points and 11 rebounds. Yang Che-yi and Lee Hsueh-lin each had 10 points.

Daiki Terashita led Niigata with 17 points, followed by Makoto Hasegawa's 12. Jonathan Sanders had 11 points and 12 boards.

Taiwan NT will train in the U.S. from Aug. 26 - Sep. 23 before coming back and meet Dongbu Promy, which ranked 3rd in the KBL regular season last season, in a three-game warmup series on Sep. 27, 28 and Oct. 1.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

APB 2nd Round - Taiwan beat Niigata 80-70

Without Chen Hsin-an and Chou Shih-yuan, Taiwan NT managed to beat Niigata Albirex 80-70 in the final second round game of the APB tournament with the play of Tsun Wen-din and Lee Hsueh-lin, who combined for 39 points.

Tsun had 21 points. Lee had 18 points and Tien Lei had 14. Taiwan head coach Lee Yun-kwang did not play Chen Hsin-an and Chou Shih-yuan, who missed the game for funeral of his grandfather, since the game was virtually meaningless.

Taiwan will meet Niigata again tomorrow in the third-place game while Perth Wildcats comes up against LG Sakers in the championship game.

Friday, August 18, 2006

APB 2nd Round - Wildcats, Sakers will meet in championship

Perth Wildcats stayed undefeated through six games after a 84-57 win over Niigata and LG Sakers beat Taiwan NT 91-78 Thursday as both teams clinched APB championship berths.

In the four-team second round, the Wildcats and the Sakers are both 2-0 with one game left. Taiwan NT and the Albirex are both 0-2 and will meet for the third-place. The results make tomorrow's last second round games meaningless.

Led by Pervis Pasco's 18 points and 19 rebounds, LG pounded the home team without mercy, making 16 3-pointers in the game. LG sank 6 threes in a 34-19 third quarter that pulled the score away after a 43-38 first half.

Taiwan also made 14 3-pointers but was outrebounded 34-18. Tsun Wen-din scored a team-high 16 points, followed by Chen Hsin-an's 15. Chen Shih-nian had 12 while Lin Chi-jay had 10.

Cho Sang-hyun led LG with 21 points, including six 3-pointers. Hyun Joo-yup had 12.

Second Round standings:
Perth Wildcats 2-0
LG Sakers 2-0
Taiwan NT 0-2
Niigata 0-2

Thursday, August 17, 2006

APB 2nd Round - Wildcats beat Taiwan again

Perth Wildacts beat Taiwan NT on consecutive nights in a 99-93 victory Wednesday, following a 100-74 blowout Tuesday, to open its second round campaign in the Asia Professional Basketball tournament. The Wildcats is riding on a five-game winning streak and looks like the favorite to win it all.

Following the single round-robin preliminaries, Taiwan NT, Perth Wildcats, LG Sakers and Niigata Albirex will play in yet another single round-robin second round before the final round, where the top two teams meet for gold and the other two play for the third-place Saturday.

Ben Hunt scored six of his team-high 19 points in the last two minutes to keep the score out of reach. Perth led from start to finish and as many as 24 points in the third quarter before Taiwan NT made the last push.

With a 21-7 run in the third and another 8-0 run in the fourth quarter, the home team cut the deficit to three, 89-86, with 2:35 to go. But Hunter took over from there and increased the lead to eight with 28.2 seconds remaining.

Tony Ronaldson scored 14 points for the winner. Adam Caporn had 12.

Lin Chi-jay scored 19 to lead the Taiwanese, followed by Chen Hisn-an's 18. Chou Shih-yuan came off the bench to score 16, including four 3-pointers, in 22 minutes. Tsun Wen-din had 15 points and 9 assists. Lee Chi-yi had 11 points.

In the second game of the night, LG routed Niigata 102-73 to avenge the 97-84 loss last night to the Albirex in its last preliminary game. LG opened the game with a 20-1 run and led by as many as 31 points.

Second round standings:
Perth Wildcats 1-0
Niigata Albirex 1-0
Taiwan NT 0-1
LG Sakers 0-1

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

APB - Perth Wildcats finished atop first round

Perth Wildcats routed Taiwan NT 100-74 Tuesday night and finished with a perfect 4-0 record after the first round in the APB tournament, which will enter another single round robin second round.

LG Sakers of Korea, Niigata Albirex and Taiwan NT all finished 2-2 but were ranked in a No.2 - 4 order after the point margin comparison. San Miguel Beermen of PBA was eliminated after dropping all four games.

Paul Rogers made 11 of 12 shots en route to a 24-point, 7-rebound night to lead a balanced attack as the Wildcats overwhelmed the host in the last 30 minutes. Lin Chi-jay led Taiwan with 12 points. Yue Yin-li and Tsun Wen-din each scored 11 points while Lee Hsueh-lin had 10.

Niigata beat San Miguel 97-84 in the final preliminary game to win its second straight game after dropping the first two. The Japanese team was able to hold off San Miguel's rally mostly because of its 12-for-27 three-point shooting.

Jonathan Sanders had 22 points, 13 rebounds and 9 assists for Niigata, which also had 14 points from veteran Makoto Hasegawa.

Dorian Pena had 22 points for the Beermen, whose acting head coach Chot Reyes (head coach of the national team) opted to rest Danny Siegle and Donald Hontiveros in the game because both of them and Pena will join the national team for a tournament in Palau starting Aug. 18.

The tournament enters the second round phase Wednesday. Top two teams of the second round will play for gold while the other two will meet for the third-place on the final day, Aug. 19.

Aug. 13 results:
Niigata 84-81 LG
Perth 89-70 San Miguel

Monday, August 14, 2006

APB Day 3 - Taiwan NT KO San Miguel, 105-76

Taiwan NT turned in its best performance in the APB tournament Sunday night, knocking out San Miguel 105-76 in a game that was meaningful for 10 minutes.

Inspired by five 3-pointers from Tien Lei and Chen Hsin-an, Taiwan NT opened the game with a 18-1 run over the Beermen, who couldn't find the basket and seemed uninterested all game long. The game was never close as the host led by as many as 37 points.

At one point San Miguel head coach Chot Reyes told his players they were embarrassing themsleves. But his words obviously neither pick up the players' spirit nor stop the last 30 minutes of the game from turning into garbage times.

All 11 players on Taiwan NT scored while five hit double figures. Chen Hsin-an led with 24 points, followed by Tien Lei's 16 and Lin Chi-jay's 14. Lee Chi-yi and Chou Shih-yuan had 13 points each.

Center Tsun Wen-din, who returned to Taiwan Sunday morning from Pete Newell Big Man Camp in Las Vegas, didn't play until the third quarter and had 5 points and 3 boards in 10 minutes.

In the ohter game, Perth Wildcats defeated LG Sakers 82-68 to remain undefeated at 2-0. LG is now 2-1 and tied with Taiwan NT.

Perth Wildcats 2-0
Taiwan NT 2-1
LG Sakers 2-1
San Miguel 0-2
Niigata Albirex 0-2

Sunday, August 13, 2006

APB Day 2 - Taiwan edged Niigata in overtime, 101-98

Led by Lin Chi-jay, who had 37 points, 10 rebounds and 4 steals, Taiwan NT edged Niigata Albirex 101-98 in overtime for its first win Saturday in the inaugural Asian Professional Basketball (APB) tournament.

Taiwan NT escaped with the fortunate win after making 3 of 6 foul shots in the last minute in overtime as Albirex came up with two airballs.

Tien Lei had 21 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 blocks and 3 steals before fouling out. Lee Chi-yi had 18 points, 7 rebounds and 4 blocks while Lee Hsueh-lin had 12 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists.

Niigata stayed with the home team because Taiwan NT kept missing free throws. The home team made only 8 of 21 free throws in the second half, including 5 of 12 in overtime.

Kimitake Sato, who had a team-high 24 points in the game, tied the game with a 3-pointer with 2:27 left in overtime, but that was the last basket for Niigata, which was hurt with more than 20 turnovers.

Sato scored five unanswered points in the last minute of the regulation to put Albirex on top, 90-87. Lin Chi-jay tied the game with a 3-poineter with 7.6 seconds to go before Niigata head coach Masaya Hirose called timeout for the last shot.

Veteran Makoto Hasegawa went to the basket but was stripped of the ball by Yang Che-yi, who was fouled hard and taken off the court due to injury. Lin Chi-jay, however, missed two potential game-winning free-throws with 0.9 seconds to go.

LG Sakers of South Korea defeated San Miguel Beermen, 76-65, to top the standing with two straight wins.

Preliminary Standings:
LG Sakers 2-0
Perth Wildcats 1-0
Taiwan NT 1-1
San Miguel 0-1
Niigata 0-2

Saturday, August 12, 2006

APB Day 1 - LG routed Taiwan NT 94-65

LG Sakers of Korea's KBL routed Taiwan NT 94-65 in the opening night of the inaugural APB (Asian Professional Basketball) tournament Friday while Perth Wildcats came up with an easy 81-70 win over Niigata Albirex of Japan's BJ League.

Taiwan NT entered the game without Tsun Wen-din, who is in Las Vegas for Pete Newell Big Man Camp and will not join the team before Aug. 14, and Chen Chih-chung, who is injured.

But it's hard to believe the home team could only hang with the Koreans for only a quarter. Led by Pervis Pasco, who had 15 points and 12 boards in the game, LG pulled away in the second quarter and never looked back.

Veteran Hoon Joo-yup had 13 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists for Sakers, which outrebounded Taiwan 40-22 and was 13 for 26 from threes.

Tien Lei had 23 points and 7 boards before fouling out. Taiwan NT once again relied heavily on three-pointers but shot only 10 for 42.

Paul Rogers had 20 points, 11 rebounds and 3 assists to pace the Wiladcats.

Asian Professional Basketball tournament to begin in Taipei

Taipei, Aug. 10 (CNA) Five top Asian basketball teams have gathered in Taipei for the Asian Professional Basketball (APB) tournament, which will be played from Aug. 11-19, to vie for the position as the top club in Asia.

The Taiwan national team, the only non-club participant, will be joined by four teams from Japan, Korea, the Philippines and Australia in the nine-day, 18-game tournament.

The visiting teams include Niigata Albirex of the Basketball Japan League, the LG Sakers of the Korean Basketball League, the San Miguel Beermen of the Philippines Basketball Association, and the Perth Wildcats of Australia's National Basketball League.

The APB is patterned after the Asia Series of professional baseball.

The Taiwan team, which will use the tournament as part of its preparations for the Asian Games in Doha, Qatar, will face the LG Sakers on the opening day, while the Perth Wildcats will take on Niigata Albirex.

The inaugural game will be played at the Taipei Physical Education Gymnasium.
(Source: Central News Agency)

Friday, August 04, 2006

Trade a player....for a coach

Taiwanese basketball never stop surprising its fans. ETSN Antelopes announced that it swapped veteran point guard Chou Jun-san with Taiwan Beer in exchange for Chiu Da-tsun, TB's head coach last season.

And it's not even a trade, ETSN said in its press release. It said the transaction was an "bilateral exchange." Does anyone know what it means?

Anyway, it means Liu Hwa-lin, who was set to replace Lee Yun-hsiang as the head coach, was replaced before coaching his first game in ETSN.

And the Antelopes got their wish in finding the best coach available in Taiwan, as Chiu is an exprienced veteran who spent a couple of years in China's CBA(Chinese Basketball Association) with Sina, Jiangsu and Xinjiang as well as Taiwna's defunct league CBA(Chinese Basketball Alliance).

As for Chou Jun-san, he is expected to act as a player/coach and eventually a full-time coach, since Taiwan Beer is already loaded with young and talented point guards in Chen Shih-nian and Hsu Hao-cheng.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Asian U-18 Women's Championship will be played in Thailand

Taiwanese daily newspaper Min-sheng Daily reported that, according to sources from FIBA Asia, the 2006 Asian U-18 Women's Championship will be played in Thailand from January 29 - February 7, 2006. The original host Vietnam has ronunced its right to hold the competition earlier.

Asian U-20 Women's Championship will be held in Singapore from December 19-27 as planned.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Taiwan NT cancelled Korea trip

Too many injured players forced Taiwan NT cancel the 10-day, 6-game Korea trip, CTBA announced in a press release Thursday.

Taiwan NT planned to play six games with local teams that include Korea NT, LG, ETLand and Yonsei University from July 28 - August 6. They will visit Korea in October in another training tour.

Chen Hsin-an has to sit out the practice due to chickenpox, CTBA said. With many players sitting out the practice due to various injuries, there are only seven players available for practice, which makes it impossible for the Korea tour.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Taiwan NT embarks upon extensive training schedule for Asian Games

Taiwanese national team will embark upon an extensive training schedule that takes them to Korea and the U.S. for the preparation of the Asian Games in Doha, Qatar following the William Jones Cup tournament, which they finished for the runner-up.

Taiwan NT will play in the Asian Professional Basketball tournament and friendly games that will be held in Taipei, and train in Korea and Southern California before the Asian Games in December.

The first stop will be Korea, where the team will stay from July 28 - August 6 and play six warmup games with local teams. There will be two games versus the Korean NT, two games versus LG Sakers and one game each versus ETland and Yonsei University.

However a couple players will be unavailable for the trip, including injured Yang Yu-min, Chen Chih-chun and Wu Chih-yuan. Also missing will be starting center Tsun Wen-din, who will attend Pete Newell's Big Men Camp in Las Vegas.

The first edition of APB, which is similiar to the Asian Clubs Championship staged by FIBA Asia, will be held from August 11-19 with five teams participating in the inaugural event.

The participants include Niigata Albirex from Japan's BJ League, LG Sakers from Korea's KBL, Sydney Kings from Australia's NBL, San Miguel Beermen from Philippines' PBA and the home team Taiwan NT.

It will visit the U.S. from August 24 - September 22 for training and a couple friendly games that remain to be arranged.

Right after the U.S. tour the schedule will take the team to Korea again, where it will play another six warmup games in early October before hosting a five or six-game series versus a U.S. team in Taipei in early November. The visiting team is to be decided.

The ultimate goal for all the preparation, of course, is the Asian Games in Doha. Four years ago, Taiwan NT finished an all-time worse 7th-place in the 2002 Busan Asian Games but top players Chen Hsin-an and Lin Chi-jay did not play in Busan.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Women's Jones Cup Final Day - Japan shocks Italy to win Jones Cup crown

First off, I have to apologize for my error in the report yesterday in which I said Italy clinched the Jones Cup crown. You never know what will happen until the final buzzer and my report was the perfect example.

The final ranking of the 2006 women's Jones Cup took a surprising turn Friday as Japan NT shocked Italy 72-65 and won the title with the best points differential from a three-team tie.

Japan, Italy and Taiwan all finished the single round robin tournament with 4 wins and 1 loss. By beating Italy by seven points, Japan finished at the top with a plus 4 point differential. Taiwan was the runner-up with minus 1 while Italy dropped to third with minus 3.

Noriko Sakakibara, who had 17 points in the game, made three 3-pointers in the final quarter. The last of those came at 47.3 seconds remaining and helped Japan enjoy a comforatable 10 point lead, 70-60.

Yuka Watanabe had 13 points and 9 boards and Kumiko Yamada had 14 points for Japan.

Italy was led by Bubravka Dacic's 24 points and Laura Macchi's 18 points and 10 rebounds.

Taiwan routed Korea 93-70 in the last game but still finished runner-up. Veteran Chien Wei-chuan led the all-out attack by dishing out 10 assists to go with 2 points and 7 rebounds. Taiwan used a 58-20 rally in the second and third quarter to put the game away.

New Zealand U-20 NT beat Australia U-18 NT, 71-55.

1. Japan 4-1
2. Taiwan 4-1
3. Italy 4-1
4. New Zealand 2-3
5. Australia 1-4
6. Korea 0-5