Taiwan Beer routed Yulon 89-67 in Game 6 of the 2008 SBL Finals to win its second straight title on April 20, defeating Yulon 4-2 in the best-of-seven series.
Finals MVP Lin Chih-chieh had 24 points, 14 rebounds and 7 assists in the decisive game, which Taiwan Beer led from start to finish.
As Yulon players looked like five lost souls on the court and shot only 37.1% as a team, TB fans could already smelled champagne in the third period, when TB led by more than fifteen.
Center Wu Tai-hao, who didn't take a potential winning shot he should have taken in closing seconds of Game 5, added 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting.
Forward Ho Shou-cheng, who took his performance up a notch in the Finals, had 17 points and 8 rebounds.
Yulon's performance in its last game of the season was simply miserable, evidenced in its 8-of-19 free-throw shooting.
Yang Che-yi led the Dinos with 16 points while Chen Chih-chung added 14 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists. However, leading scorer Chen Hsin-an turned in just 10 points, missing 10 of 14 shots.
Tseng Wen-ting, who was outplayed by Wu Tai-hao in the entire series, had 13 points and 8 boards in the season finale.
Game 5: Yulon 87-85 TB
Chen Hsin-an scored 26 of his game-high 39 points in the first period and made 7 threes in the elimination game as Yulon pulled within one game.
Yang Che-yi scored seven points in the 4th period to make the score 81-73 before TB made the last run. Chen Hsin-an made three of four free-throws in the last 15.2 seconds for the win.
Yulon: Chen Hsin-an 39p(14-26 FG, 7-12 3PT)+12rb, Yang Che-yi 18p, Lee Hsueh-lin 14p
TB: Lin Chih-chieh 24p+10rb+4a, Ho Shou-cheng 16p+10rb, Wu Tai-hao 13p+6rb+5a, Chen Chih-nian 15p(4-4 3PT)
Game 4: TB 73-66 Yulon
TB used a 17-7 run in the third quarter to win the most important game of the series and was one win away from its second title in as many years.
TB: Lin Chih-chieh 26p+11rb+4s, Yang Ching-min 17p, Ho Shou-cheng 9p+11rb, Wu Tai-hao 10p+6rb+4blk
Yulon: Chen Hsin-an 23p+14rb+4a, Lee Hsueh-lin 17p, Chen Chih-chung 15p+5a, Tseng Wen-ting 4p
(Photo source: ESPN Taiwan)
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Taiwan Beer used a 23-7 third quarter to rout Yulon in Game 3 and took a 2-1 lead in the 2008 SBL Finals on Sunday.
The defending champion made five threes, with three of them came from Yang Ching-min, in a 21-4 run to open the second half, boosting its six-point lead to 23, and won the game 81-64.
Ho Shou-cheng scored 18 of his game-high 21 points in the first half, when TB led 37-31. Yang Ching-min and Chen Shih-nian took over in the second half, while leading scorer Lin Chih-chieh made up for an awful shooting night (9 points) with other dimensions of his game, collecting 7 boards and 7 assists.
TB made 10 of 19 three-pointers in the game.
Yulon couldn't find the basket all night long, shooting 33% as a team. Chen Hsin-an led with 20 points but nine of those came in the fourth quarter, when Yulon already trailed by 20.
Once again, it seemed to me Yulon players were tired, playing for the third successive night with an (almost) six-men rotation. Other than Chen, no player reached double-digit scoring.
On Saturday night, it was Yulon coming out on top and leveled the series. Yulon limited TB to 3-of-17 from the three-point range in a 79-68 win, leading by as many as 20 points in the third quarter.
Chen Chih-chung led Yulon with 21 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists while Yang Che-yi had 20. Chen Hsin-an had a subpar shooting night, making one of five field goals attempts but was 10-of-12 from the foul line. Chen had 12 points and 7 rebounds.
Lee Hsueh-lin had 8 points and center Tseng Wen-ting had 10 points and three blocks.
Wu Tai-hao led TB with 22 points. Lin Chih-chieh had 13.
2008 SBL Finals
Game 1: TB 80-64 Yulon
Game 2: Yulon 79-68 TB
Game 3: TB 81-64 Yulon
(Photo source: ESPN Taiwan)
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Lin Chih-chieh had 29 points and 9 rebounds and Ho Shou-cheng scored all his 12 points in the second half as defending champ Taiwan Beer routed Yulon 80-64 in Game 1 of the 2008 SBL Finals.
Backup point guard Hsu Hao-cheng chipped in 11 points while starting center Wu Tai-hao had 10 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists and two blocks for the Beermen.
Lin had 16 points in the first half, when the Beermen overcame an opening 12-0 deficit and jumped in front 36-34 at the intermission. In the second half, Ho's scoring touch kept Yulon in a distance.
Yulon's depth was never a factor in the game as it became a two-men team. Chen Chih-chung led with 22 points and Chen Hsin-an added 19 points and 7 boards, but none of their teammates scored more than 10 points.
I had predicted in the preseason and in mid-season that TB would not repeat as champion because the team could never find a chemistry and share the ball. TB finished only 19-11 as the No. 3 seed coming into the postseason and that probably told you I was pretty smart.
Nope. TB was a different team in the second season. Its three-game sweep of dmedia was a surprise. And judging from its play in Game 1, Taiwan Beer is back.
At the same time, I couldn't help but wonder why that Yulon, which is as deep as Taiwan Beer, could never develop a right rotation under head coach Lee Yun-kwang.
Starting center Tseng Wen-ting was never the same after his knee injury in the mid-season. Tseng, who was still dominant as late as the last season, scored only one point in Game 1. Newcomers yang Che-yi and Lee Chih-yi, both played for the national team, were also inconsistent.
(Photo source: ESPN Taiwan)
Sunday, April 06, 2008
PY stole one from Yulon.
Yulon eliminated PY 3-1.
Pure Youth fans.
It's official. The 2008 SBL Finals will be a long-awaited matchup everyone has been expecting for the entire season. Taiwan Beer, which swept No. 2 seed dmedia Numen 3-0 in the first round, will meet Yulon Dinos in the Finals.
Yulon beat Pure Youth 3-1 in the first round and will try to win its fourth SBL title in six season.
Taiwan Beer's sweep has been somewhat of a surprise, given the fact it has always struggled against dmedia during five games of the regular season. However, the Beermen proved that the postseason was another story.
With TB trailing by two with less than two minutes to go in the elimination game, Wu Tai-hao made a turn-around jumper to put TB back on top, 76-75. The 6-8 center then grabbed a crucial defensive rebound and followed with an outlet pass that led to a three-point play by forward Wang Chien-wei to secure the victory.
Wu and Lin Chih-chieh have been the key men in the three-game series. It's something TB head coach Yen Chia-hua and TB fans would love to see and it will be one of the most factors in the Finals.
In the other matchup, Pure Youth upset Yulon in Game 3 with a two-point victory. Yulon wasted little time to regroup and wrapped up the series the next night with a 98-78 win.
TB swept dmedia 3-0.
Lin vs. Sanders.
Apr. 5 Yulon 98-78 PY
Yulon: Chen Hsin-an 26p+15rb, Yang Che-yi 23p, Chen Chih-chung 12p, Lee Chih-yi 4p+7rb+3blk
PY: Chien Chia-hung 15p+8rb, Chen Chun-chieh 15p, Hsu Shih-ching 12p, Tsai Wen-cheng 14p+9rb
Apr. 4 TB 79-75 dmedia
TB: Lin Chih-chieh 27p, Wu Tai-hao 14p+7rb+3blk
dmedia: J. Sanders 26p+22rb+8a, Ouyang Ching-heng 18p, Hsiao Yuan-chang 14p
PY 86-84 Yulon
PY: Chien Chia-hung 27p+7rb, Wu Chien-lung 10p+15rb+5a, Hsu Shih-ching 15p, Lin CHing-pang 11p+7rb, Chen Shih-chieh 10p+6rb
Yulon: Chen Chih-chung 23p, Yang Che-yi 13p, Lee Chih-yi 10p+12rb+4a+4blk, Chen Hsin-an 10p
(Photo source: ESPN Taiwan)
Thursday, April 03, 2008
(Source: ESPN Taiwan)
Chen Chih-chung edged teammate Chen Hsin-an for the Player of February/March by leading Yulon Dinos to a 9-3 record, averaging 19.2 points during the 12-game stretch.
Chen received 30 points, three points higher than Chen Hsin-an and four more than dmedia import Jon Sanders, in the voting. PY center/forward Chien Chia-hung had 16 points.
2007-08 SBL Players of the Month:
Feb./March: Chen Chih-chung (Yulon)
January: J. Sanders (dmedia)
December: Chen Hsin-an (Yulon)
TB leads 2-0.
Chen Hsin-an in action.
Two days into the SBL playoffs, we were probably only one game away from the SBL Finals matchup everyone would love to see as Yulon Dinos and Taiwan Beers both jumped on a 2-0 lead in their first round playoff series.
It did not surprise anyone that Yulon took the first two games. After all, it is the No. 1 seed and have everyone healthy. Kudos to PY, which entered the post season without second leading scorer James Mao, however. PY played its heart out and actually made both games entertaining.
In Game 2, Tseng Wen-ting scored 12 of his 17 points in the final period to break the game open for Yulon, which was upset by Dacin in the opening round playoff series last season.
The defending champ Taiwan Beer, on the other hand, was not the usual No. 3 seed. It was only one game behind the No. 2 seed dmedia Numen (20-10) in the regular season and everyone knew it tanked its last two regular season games to rest its starters.
Lin Chih-chieh and Wu Tai-hao rose to the occassion. Lin, who had a subpar regular season, tallied 47 points and 22 rebound while Wu had 43 points and 18 boards in two games.
TB's defense was also brilliant. It limited high-scoring Jon Sanders (21.3 points, 16.6 rebounds, 5.8 assists) to only 7 points in Game 1 and, most unbelievably, held SBL's No. 3 scorer Ouyang Ching-heng (19.4 points in the regular season) to THREE points iin two games.
As soon as April 4, we will have our 2007-08 Finals matchup. I'll be home for a three-day vacation and probably don't get to write the story before the first round is over. Stay tuned.
Yulon 88-75 PY
Yulon: Tseng Wen-ting 17p, Chen Hsin-an 12p+7rb+5a, Lu Cheng-ju 12p+8rb, Chen Chih-chung 13p+9rb+7a
PY: Chen Shih-chieh 14p+10rb, Wu Chien-lung 12p+16rb, Chien Chia-hung 13p, Lin Ching-pang 10p
TB 101-74 dmedia
TB: Lin Chih-chieh 27p+10rb, Wu Tai-hao 18p, Yang Ching-min 13p
dmedia: J. Sanders 22p+12rb+6a, Lee Chun-wei 18p, Ouyang CHing-heng 1p
Yulon 95-87 Pure Youth
Yulon: Chen Chih-chung 21p+7rb+4a, Chen Hsin-an 18p+12rb, Lee Chih-yi 13p+11rb+7a, Yang Che-yi 18p, Lee Hsueh-lin 18p
PY: Chien Chia-hung 21p+7rb, Chen Shih-chieh 16p, Lin Chin-pang 16p, Wu Chien-lung 11p
TB 90-73 dmedia
TB: Wu Tai-hao 25p+12rb, Lin Chih-chieh 20p+12rb+6a, Ho Shou-cheng 14p+7rb
dmedia: Lin Kwan-lun 22p, J. Sanders 7p(1-11 FG)+11rb+6a, Ouyang Ching-heng 2p, Wu Chia-lung 11p
(photo source: ESPN Taiwan)
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
OK. The thing was I got an email from Carolyn Hastings, who hosted And One -- one of the most popular Cavs blogs in the blogsphere, asking about the origin of the name Taiwan Beer.
Carolyn published a story about Taiwan Beer on the Sports Diva Magazine and posted my reply in the article. And after that, folks at Empty The Bench linked back to her story in one of its posts. It was really nice to see Taiwanese basketball getting some exposure at the other side of the Pacific.
Couldn't help but wonder that if Taiwan Beer arouse Carolyn's interest, maybe Pure Youth will make more people interested about Taiwanese basketball? Haha. Pure Youth sounds like a brand of mineral water or cosmetics, but in fact it's the name of a construction group.