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.