Thursday, September 20, 2007

Confused about SBL team changes?


Are you confused about all those changes with the SBL teams during the summer? In fact, you're not alone. I am also a little bit confused with all those ownerships, coaches and players changes. So, here we are. I'm going to try to make a list so we can get a clearer picture.

I'm not sure about all the player changes so I'm going to list only the major ones. In short, three teams changed ownerships and, thus, team names. Four teams made coaching changes. And a lot of big-name players will wear new uniforms next season.

-- Yulon Dinos
Yulon is still the team with stability. The team has been there for more than 30 years. And although head coach Lee Yung-kwang did not have a good year last season (Yulon failed to make the finals for the first time), his status remained unthreatened.

All players in Taiwan want to play for Yulon, since it offers the best environment and salary. That was why Yang Che-yi and Lee Chi-yi, both NT members, decided to leave Videoland and sign with the Dinos. In return (Yes, I know it sounded weird...), Yulon sent Hsu Wei-shen and Liu Shen-yao to VL, which is now known as Taiwan Mobile.

When all is said and done, Yulon boasts one of the best -- if not the best -- starting lineup in the league, featuring Chen Hsin-an, Tsun Wen-din, Lee Chi-yi, Chen Chih-chung and Yang Che-yi with Chou Shih-yuan the first player off the bench.

-- Taiwan Beer
The reigning SBL champ was upgraded after adding Wu Dai-hao (from ETSN) and Yang Chin-min (from Bank of Taiwan). Both Wu and Yang are NT players. That tells you TB gets stronger and stronger. In fact, I think they will have a serious rotation problem because they simply have too many good players who can contribute.

-- Dacin Tigers
Liu Jia-fa
, who has been coaching this young team since 2000 and took the team to A-League finals and SBL finals, was replaced by former ETSN head coach Chiu Da-tsun. The arrival of Chiu means that Dacin will no longer a three-point shooting team because that's never Chiu's style of play. He will stress a lot more on the inside play.

Dacin added two key players, Yang Yu-min (from ETSN) and Yua Ying-li (from BOT). Yang will boost Dacin's already-strong perimeter shooting and Yua is expected to provide some inside help and defense.

-- Bank of Taiwan
This team always struggled with its small budget and kept losing players to other teams. This year it lost Yua Ying-li to Dacin and Yang Chin-min to Taiwan Beer. Losing the top two scorers was no fun, but think about this -- it lost its head coach Wei Chen-ming as well.

Wei was axed for internal reasons that no one could really figure out from the outside. And the team hasn't officially announced the new head coach. Currently assistant Lai Liang-chung is acting as the interim head coach. Anyway, BOT is looking at another miserable season.

-- Taiwan Mobile
This team was known as Videoland Hunters but is now called Taiwan Mobile Clouded Leopards after the ownership change. Head coach Liu Chih-wei was replaced by former Taiwan NT star Cheng Chih-lung. The departure of Yang Che-yi and Lee Chi-yi will definitely hurt them. Check previous articles for details.

-- Pure Youth
Daniel Jiang, the owner of Azio Eagles, abalienated the team to Pure Youth Construction Teams, one of the most successful construction companies in Taiwan in recent years. Apart from the ownership, nothing really changed.

Although Pure Youth is expected to be outmatched n most games like last year, it insists on not hiring import players in order to, what else, save money. It will be difficult for them to register seven wins -- its win total last season.

-- dmedia
ETSN ended its three-year ownership of its basketball team in July and sold it to Segway Technology for NT$ 10 million. Dmedia System Co. is an affiliation company of Segway Technology.

ETSN never made the playoffs in the past four years. And the outlook for this season is not optimistic as well. It lost Yang Yu-min and Wu Dai-hao, the best inside-outside combo on the team. Head coach Chiu Da-tsun was not retained either.

It has been confirmed that dmedia will hire veteran Wu Jian-kuo as its head coach. Wu has not been in coaching for almost a decade. Will he be able to make this team competetive? No one knows for sure. Observers worried that Wu was probably out of touch with the "modern style of play" and would be having trouble to relate to younger players.

Dmedia did add Lin Kwan-lun, who left Taiwan Beer. Cheng Jen-wei and O-Yang Jin-hen are expected to be responsible for the bulk of scoring. Word is that dmedia has hired Jonathan Sanders, who played for Videoland last season, for USD$6,000 per month.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Videoland Hunters sold to Taiwan Mobile

Taiwan Mobile Clouded Leopards

Cheng will be the new head coach

Videoland was sold to Taiwan Mobile, one of Taiwan's largest mobile phone operators, and was renamed to Taiwan Mobile Clouded Leopards. Former Taiwan star Cheng Chih-lung was named head coach of the team.

Cheng Chih-lung, who was generally considered one of Asia's best players during the late 80s and 90s, welcomed the opportunity of his first head coaching job. Cheng helped Taiwan NT to a 4th place finish in 1999 Asian Championship in Fukuoka, Japan -- the last time Taiwan was in the top four in Asia.

Cheng was also the first Taiwan player to play in China's CBA (Chinese Basketball Association). He was Yao Ming's teammates in Shanghai Sharks from 2000-2001.

Huang Chun-hsiung, Cheng's former teammate in Hungkuo Elephants during the old CBA (Chinese Basketball Alliance) days.

Taiwan Mobile will have a new look next season. In addition to the coaching change, two core players Yang Che-yi and Lee Chi-yi left the team for Yulon Dinos.

Currently the Clouded Leopards have 15 players on its roster. Lai Kuo-hong, Lin Shin-hwa, Chen Huei, Wu Yong-jen, Lee Wei-min, Hsu Kai-jay, Chen Yao-ting, Wu Cheng-yu, Hong Chi-chao, Deng An-cheng, Yen Cheng-hong were players who remained with the team. Newcomers included Hsu Tse-shin (From ETSN), Wu Min-hsien (rookie), Liu Sheng-yao (from Yulon) and Hsu Wei-shen (from Yulon).

Lai Kuei-lin and Chen Li-wei were not re-signed.

Taiwan Mobile named the team after Formosan Clouded Leopards, a subspecies of Clouded Leopard that was endemic to the island of Taiwan and is now believed to be extinct.

Videoland bought the team from BCC (Broadcasting Corporation of China) in June 2004. The team formerly known as Mars was taken over by BCC after the pro league CBA folded in 1999.

(Photo source: Apple Daily)

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Yao, Bryant visited Taiwan

Yao Ming and Kobe Bryant visited Taiwan on separate tours last week. Bryant was in taiwan to promote his sneakers with NIKE while Yao was here for charity events. Here are a couple of photos:

Yao Ming




Kobe Bryant


(Source: Yam Sports)

More on 2007 Straits Cup

First of all, I'm sorry for the long absence as I've been too busy at work recently.

Well, the 2007 Straits Cup tournament concluded three days ago as Shangdong finished first in the tourney, winning all four games, and Jiangsu came second with three win and one losses. But...did anyone care about the final result after the "Meng Da Incident"?

Things went bad -- in fact, very bad -- after Meng Da punched Wu Dai-hao on the Sept. 4 game. Taiwanese basketball fans were furious at Meng Da and Jiangsu, but Meng and Jiangsu did not publicly offer their apology to Wu until more than 24 hours after the punch.

Taiwan Beer subequently pulled out of the tournament. And Meng Da was asked by the Chinese Basketball Association to leave Taiwan immediately.

Oh, yeah, the game results... There were only two games played in Hualien since TB withdrew from the competition. Shangdong beat Dacin 76-70 on Sept. 5 and Jiangsu beat Dacin 85-77 the following day.

A minor incident happened on the last day again. CTBA officials tried to pursuade a number of fans in the stands to STOP waving and displaying Taiwan's national flag. It was reported by several news channels and caused another controvercy.

CTBA claimed that the "Olympics format" was applied in the tournament, which means Taiwan participated the event under the name of "Chinese Taipei" and neither national flag should be displayed nor national anthem sung in the tourney.

For those of you who don't understand the "Olympics format" and political relations between Taiwan and China, I urge you to do a little homework. Anyway, it does make any sense to me that the so-called "Olympics format" should be used in the tournament. After all, this is only an invitational tournament being held in TAIWAN!! Fans have the rights to support their national team and wave any flag, sing any song, shout at anyone.

I really don't think we will be seeing a Straits Cup tournament after this year after all these troubles.

1. Shangdong 4-0; 2. Jiangsu 3-1; 3. TB 1-2; 4. Dacin 0-4.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Unsportsmanlike plays overshadow Chinese wins

Wu Dai-hao was furious after hitting by Jiangsu's Meng Da.

Yua Ying-li of Dacin.

(Source: Apple Daily)

A pair of unsportsmanlike plays overshadowed Jiangsu and Shangdong's victories in the 2007 Straits Cup Monday night.

Jiangsu's Meng Da intentionally hit Wu Dai-hao with his elbow when Wu tried to fought off a pick in the 4th quarter of the Jiangsu-Taiwan Beer game and almost resulted in a full-blown brawl. Shangdong's Li Lin also pushed a referee in the 4th quarter of the Shangdong-Dacin game. Both were ejected.

Taiwan Beer head coach Yen Jia-hua claimed after the game that the team would not play in the second round-robin which is scheduled to be held in Hualien because his players were not protected fairly.

Jiangsu beat Taiwan Beer 78-71 behind center Tang Zhengdong's 39 points and 15 rebounds. Sun Jie had 18 points and Zhao Yonggang added 16 as Shangdong beat Dacin 78-73.

Lin Chih-jay had 26 points and Ho Sho-jen added 20 for Taiwan Beer. Dacin was led by Lin Yi-huei's 23 points. Wang Chih-chun had 12.

1. Shangdong 3-0; 2. Jiangsu 2-1; 3. TB 1-2; 4. Dacin 0-3

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Shangdong 2-0 in Straits Cup

Lee Fong-yong of Dacin Tigers.

Yen Hsin-shu still has a long way to go.

(Source: Apple Daily)

Led by Cao Zhenhua's 24 points and Li Lin's 16, Shangdong beat its Chinese counterpart Jiangsu 80-74 to win its second straight game in the 2007 Straits Cup.

Jiangsu was led by Yang Li's 15 points. Meng Da had 14 points while Tang Zhengdong had 11.

In the second game, Taiwan Beer used a 25-12 third quarter to overcome a slow start in the first half and beat Dacin 77-64 for its first win in the tournament.

Jiangsu, Shangdong win opening games in Straits Cup

Straits Cup was held in Miaoli.

Shangdong guard Sun Jie had 23 points in the first game vs. Taiwan Beer.

Wu Dai-hao played his first game in a TB uniform.

Jiangsu head coach Hu Weidong, former China NT star forward.

Jiangsu Dragons and Shangdong defeated their Taiwanese opponents in the opening day of the 2007 Straits Cup tournament, a mini tourney featuring four teams from both sides of the Taiwan Straits.

Led by Sun Jie's 23 points, Shangdong beat defending SBL champion Taiwan Beer 86-72 while Jiangsu pulled away in the second half and beat Dacin 95-79.

Sun Jie scored 18 of his 23 points in the first half, when Shangdong displayed its awesome outside shooting and led 50-36 at the half. Zhao Yonggang made six threes in the game and finished with 20 points. Guard Wang Gang had 15.

Shangdong made 60% of its 3-PT field goals in the game and shot 56 percent as a team.

Taiwan Beer looked rusty and was never in a rhythm in the entire game. Wu Dai-hao scored 15 points in his TB debut. Yang Chin-min, who also played his first game with TB, had 6 points. Lin Chih-jay had 11 points and 12 rebounds.

Yen Hsin-shu, who came out of retirement and signed with China's Yunnan Running Bulls, did not score and had three turnovers in 15 minutes of action. Yen had a long way to go to get back to game condition after three years away from basketball.

In the second game, Jiangsu had no problem dealing with short-handed Dacin as the Dragon used a 21-4 run in the third quarter to open up the game. Starting poing guard Hu Xuefeng had a game-high 30 points, 6 assists and 5 steals while Meng Da added 25 points.

Dacin dropped it first game under new head coach Chiu Da-tsun, who coached Jiangsu during his days in the China's CBA. But it's hard to blame them as four Dacin starters -- Tien Lei, Chang Chi-feng, Su Yi-chieh and Yang Yu-min -- all missed the game due to injury.

Wang Chih-chun pace Dacin with 16 points. Lee Fong-yong had 13.

Jiangsu finished third in the CBA last season with a 23-7 record. Shangdong ranked fifth with 19-11.