Sunday, December 27, 2009

Taiwanese players in China

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(Chen Hsin-an, left and Lin Chih-chieh, source: Apple Daily)

According to Apple Daily, stats of five Taiwanese players currently playing in China are as follow. They are probably making big bucks, but none of them is receiving enough playing time and making big impacts though.

Chen Hsin-an, Dongguan: 3.7p+1rb
Lin Chih-chieh, Zhejiang: 9p+4.3rb+2s
Yen Hsin-shu, Shanghai: 2a+1s
Hsu Hao-cheng, Shangxi: 1.5rb+1s
Lin Kwan-lun, Shanxi: 3.5p+1.5rb

Saturday, December 12, 2009

ESPN feature on Taiwanese U.S. college player Jeremy Lin

Immigrant dream plays out through son
Harvard's do-it-all star learned the game from his father and a host of NBA legends

O'Neil By Dana O'Neil

ncb_a_lin15_600 STORRS, Conn. -- The jump hook he used to score his first bucket of the game? That came from Kareem.

The perfect form on his jumper? Larry Bird deserves credit for that.

The power end-to-end drive with a dunk to finish? Vintage Dr. J.

The sweet dribble penetration and kickout? Score one for Magic.

As Jeremy Lin dissected and bisected Connecticut to the tune of 30 points Sunday afternoon, his father sat in front of a computer screen on the other side of the country, watching his videotape library of NBA greats come to life in the form of his son.

All those years Gie-Ming Lin spent rewinding his tapes so he could teach himself how to play a game he never even saw until he was an adult? All those hours spent in the local Y with his boys, schooling them in fundamentals over and over, building muscle memory without even knowing what the term meant? That silly dream, the one in which his children would fall in love with basketball as much as he had?

There it was, borne out in a gym in Storrs, Conn.

"Every time he did something good, they'd play it over and over again," Gie-Ming said from his home in Palo Alto, Calif. "I kept watching, and they kept showing him."

Soon the rest of the college basketball world might be turning its collective eye toward Jeremy Lin. Think about what the senior has done just this week for Harvard, which is off to its best start (7-2) in 25 years.

In keeping his team in the game right to the end, Lin scored a career-high 30 points and grabbed 9 boards in a 79-73 loss to No. 12 UConn. Then, in the Crimson's 74-67 upset at Boston College on Wednesday -- the second straight season Harvard has beaten BC -- Lin contributed 25 points.

ncb_i_lin12_400 So in two games against New England's annual NCAA tournament participants, Lin scored 55 points and shot 64 percent from the field and 80 percent from the free throw line.

He boasts an all-around repertoire rarely on display. Last season Lin was the only player in the nation to rank among the top 10 players in his conference in points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, field goal percentage, free throw percentage and 3-point percentage.

This year? He is merely second in the Ivy League in scoring (18.6 points), 10th in rebounding (5.3), fifth in field goal percentage (51.6 percent), third in assists (4.6), second in steals (2.4), sixth in blocked shots (1.2) and top of the pile in turning the heads of esteemed basketball minds, including Hall of Famer Jim Calhoun.

"I've seen a lot of teams come through here, and he could play for any of them," the longtime UConn coach said of Lin. "He's got great, great composure on the court. He knows how to play."

And he learned how to play thanks to his father's determination.

Jeremy is not the product of some Marv Marinovich in high-tops, desperate to cultivate the perfect basketball player, but rather a 5-foot-6 immigrant who long ago fell in love with a game and realized that in that game, his own children could gain entry into mainstream America.

Gie-Ming Lin was born in Taiwan, where academics were stressed and athletics ignored. He caught an occasional glimpse of basketball and, for reasons he can't explain, was immediately smitten with the game.

He dreamed of coming to the United States for two reasons: to complete his Ph.D. and "to watch the NBA."

That happened in 1977 when Gie-Ming enrolled at Purdue University for his doctorate in computer engineering. He flipped on the television, and there it was: the NBA in all its late-1970s glory. Kareem, Moses and Dr. J, with Jordan, Bird and Magic waiting in the wings.

"My dad," Jeremy said, "is a complete basketball junkie."

ncb_e_lin11_600 Gie-Ming's first job took him to Los Angeles, where the grueling demands and long hours had him searching for some sort of athletic release.

"I thought it would be great to play basketball," Gie-Ming said.

Only problem? He didn't have the slightest idea how. He had never picked up a ball in his life.

So he turned his attention back to those gripping NBA games. Armed with videotapes of his favorite players, Gie-Ming studied the game with the same fervor he studied for his Ph.D.

"I would just imitate them over and over; I got my hook shot from Kareem," Gie-Ming said, laughing.

It took him years to feel comfortable enough to play in a pickup game, and as he bided his time he decided then -- long before he even had children -- that his own kids would grow up knowing the game from an early age.

When first-born Joshua turned 5, Gie-Ming carted him to the local Y to begin teaching him those valuable skills stored on his videotapes.

Jeremy followed, and then youngest brother Joseph joined in what became a three-nights-a-week routine. The boys would finish their homework and around 8:30 head to the Y with their father for 90 minutes of drills or mini-games.

Forget that all of the players on those videos had long since retired, that the guy with Kareem's hook shot wouldn't hit Abdul-Jabbar's armpit. Gie-Ming recognized what so many other youth coaches have forgotten over time: The foundation for success is the basics.

"I realized if I brought them from a young age it would be like second nature for them," Gie-Ming said. "If they had the fundamentals, the rest would be easy."

ncb_a_lin14_400 His passion soon became their passion, and as the boys grew up, those 90-minute sessions would turn into wee-hour wars, with the boys scrounging for whatever gym they could find to play.

Joshua would star at Henry M. Gunn High School. Jeremy would enroll at rival Palo Alto High, where Joseph is now a senior.

Jeremy was special. He had his father's passion, his own inner motivation and a frame that would sprout to 6-foot-3. A good enough scorer to play 2-guard, Jeremy also was a savvy enough playmaker -- thanks to his dad and Magic -- to play the point. He's a solid outside shooter, but his dad, Julius and Kareem conspired to give him a reliable game around the rim.

In other words, he was otherworldly, a kid so talented that his freshman coach stood up at the team banquet and declared, "Jeremy has a better skill set than anyone I've ever seen at his age."

Named to the varsity as a freshman, Jeremy would earn honors as sophomore of the year and two-time most valuable player in his league.

Immersed in the game as he was, Jeremy never thought he was anything but a normal kid who liked basketball.

Until, that is, the insults came at him, the taunts to go back to China or open his eyes.

He was an Asian-American basketball player, an oddity and a curiosity in the cruel world of high school, where nothing is safer than being like everyone else.

"It was definitely a lot tougher for me growing up," he said. "There was just an overall lack of respect. People didn't think I could play."

His father offered sage advice.

"I told him people are going to say things to him, but he had to stay calm and not get excited by these words; they are only words," Gie-Ming said. "I told him to just win the game for your school and people will respect you."

Once more, Gie-Ming was right. In his senior season Jeremy averaged 15 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds and 5 steals, leading Palo Alto to a 32-1 record and a stunning 51-47 victory over nationally ranked Mater Dei in the CIF Division II state championship game.

Along the way, he converted some of the people who had mocked him. When Palo Alto played Mater Dei, students from both Jeremy's high school and rival Henry M. Gunn High crowded a local pizza joint to cheer for Jeremy and his team.

Converting people outside Northern California was more difficult. By his senior season, Lin was the runaway choice for player of the year by virtually every California publication. Yet he didn't receive a single Division I scholarship offer.

Lin doesn't know why, but believes his ethnicity played a part.

Asian-Americans make up just 0.4 percent of Division I basketball rosters, according to the latest NCAA numbers. That equates to 20 players out of 5,051.

Harvard offered an education with a hefty price tag. (The Ivy League offers no athletic scholarships.) But it also offered the chance to play Division I ball. So Lin went without hesitation.

Four extremely successful years into his college career, he now finds himself packaged into an uncomfortable box. Lin is at once proud and frustrated with his place as the flag-bearer for Asian-American basketball players.

The Harvard uniform, the Asian background, it all still makes Jeremy something of a novelty. What he longs for most of all is to be a basketball player.

Not an Asian-American basketball player, just a basketball player.

"Jeremy has been one of the better players in the country for a while now," said Harvard coach Tommy Amaker, who, as a Duke graduate and former head coach at both Seton Hall and Michigan, knows a thing or two about talent. "He's as consistent as anyone in the game. People who haven't seen him are wowed by what they see, but we aren't. What you see is who he is."

But stereotypes die hard and remain propagated by the ignorant. At UConn, as Jeremy stepped to the free throw line for the first time, one disgraceful student chanted, "Won-ton soup."

"I do get tired of it; I just want to play," Lin said. "But I've also come to accept it and embrace it. If I help other kids, than it's worth it."

In their 109-year history, the Crimson have never won an Ivy League title and have managed only three second-place finishes. They have had just one league player of the year -- Joe Carrabino in 1984.

The last Harvard man to suit up in the NBA? Ed Smith in 1953.

Lin could change all of that, a thought that boggles the mind of the man who fell in love with a sport so many years ago.

"All this time he was growing up, I never thought about Jeremy playing in college or professionally," Gie-Ming said. "I just enjoyed watching him play. I'm just so proud of him and so happy for him. I told him my dream already has come true."

Dana O'Neil covers college basketball for and can be reached at

2009 EAG: Taiwan woman has no answer to China

Taiwan woman NT did not have an answer to powerful China for the second consecutive time in the East Asian Games title game, losing 83-58 in the 2009 EAG final Friday night.

Taiwan's confidence was high coming into the game after losing to China by only eight points in the preliminary. However China was not to be stopped Friday night, shooting 54% from the field and limited Taiwan’s offense down to 35%.

Taiwan was led by Liu Chun-yi's 15 points. Yang Ya-hui had 14 points while Lee Wan-ting had 11.

2009 EAG: Taiwan lost to South Korea, failed to defend title

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Tseng Wen-ting missed a pair of free-throws with 10 seconds to go as Taiwan NT was one step short of a huge comeback bid in the final two minutes, losing a 98-97 heartbreaker to South Korea in the 2009 East Asian Games final and failed to defend its title.

Taiwan NT, who led by as many as 10 points in the third quarter over a South Korean team consisting of military and college players, suddenly found themselves trailed by 12 with two minutes remaining.

Koreans closed the gap with an 8-0 run early in the final quarter.

Taiwan head coach Chung Kwang-suk opted to go for the late game intentional fouling and it worked like magic. As Koreans kept missing free-throws, Taiwan cut the deficit to two with 10 seconds to go.

Lee Hsueh-lin and Tseng Wen-ting executed a perfect give-and-go on the last play as Tseng was fouled on his way to the basket. But he missed the most crucial free-throws in the game.

South Korea made the ensuing free-throws to lead by four before Yang Che-yi added a three-pointer with 0.3 seconds left in the game. There was not enough time for Taiwan to turn the tide.

Taiwan led 45-42 at the half.

Tseng Wen-ting had a team-high 23 points and 10 rebounds but was only 4-of-11 from the free-throw line. Chang Chih-feng had 20 points and Lin Chih-chieh added 19.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

UBA Elite Eight

Final eight in the University Basketball Alliance:

National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU)
Mingdao University (MDU)
Chinese Culture University (CCU)
Fu Jen Catholic University (FJU)
National Taiwan University of Arts (NTUA)
Hsing Wu College (HWC)
National Taiwan College of Physical Education (NTCPE)
Diwan University (DWU)

2009 EAG: Taiwan NT in title game again

2009EAG Led by Tien Lei and Lin Chih-chieh, Taiwan NT beat Japan 69-67 in the semifinal game of the 2009 East Asian Games and advanced to the title game again, winning an opportunity to defend its title after finishing on top in 2005.

Taiwan will meet South Korea, who sent a mix of the military team and college players but surprised China's second national team 91-59 in the other semifinal, in the tournament finale.

Tien Lei scored the tie-breaking basket on a putback with 10 seconds to go in the close win. Lin Chih-chieh led the team with 17 points. Yang Ching-min had 14 points while center Wu Tai-hao had 12 points, 5 rebounds and two blocks.

In the preliminary round, Taiwan was routed 76-48 by China and cruised past Mongolia 132-94 in the final preliminary game.

Yang Ching-min scored a team-high 12 points in the China game.

Eight players scored in double-digit in the Mongolia game. Tien Lei paced the team with 19 points and Lin Chih-chieh had 18 points. Yang Ching-min chipped in 16.

FIBA Asia: Late burst takes Taipei to bronze

pune Taipei played superbly coordinated basketball in the final three minutes of the game, outscoring their rivals 7-3 in this period, and eked out a 66-63 win over Korea to clinch the bronze medal.

Down 57-58 with about three minutes left in the game of swinging fortunes, Taipei ran a 7-0 spree.

Eunji Kim sank a three-pointer and Dajeong Park converted both her free-throws to bring the score close to 63-64.

Dajeong Park top-scored for Korea with 19 points.

But with less than four seconds left, and Taipei holding the ball, Korea could only muster a foul.

Lin Yu-ting, who scored as many points as Dajeong Park to lead Taipei’s scoring, made no mistake on both the occasions, and her team had won a well-fought and well-deserved bronze.

Fortunes in the game, had throughout swung like the proverbial pendulum with neither side able to sustain any sizable lead.

Taipei seemed to gain an edge when they ran a 9-0 run across the first quarter break and then a mini 6-0 run for a 28-19 lead midway through the second quarter.

Korea hit back in kind with an 11-0 run that took them past Taipei and helped them close the first half 39-35.

Again, a lead that proved as momentary as the margin.

2009 EAG: Taiwan women NT to fight for gold


For the first time, Taiwan women NT is in the final game of an international competition, although the East Asian Games is not exactly the high level international competition most people have in mind.

With a squad mixing the old and the inexperienced youngsters, Taiwan women NT surprisingly routed South Korea 78-58 in the semifinal and make the 2009 EAG final in Hong Kong. It is expected to meet powerful China in the title game.

Taiwan followed a 35-point blowout win over South Korea in the final preliminary game with yet another lopsided win over Koreans on consecutive nights as forward Liu Chun-yi tallying 23 points and 6 rebounds and veteran center Cheng Hui-yun contributing 21 and 9.

"Newcomers on the team have been a surprise since the first day with their hustle, effort and the will to learn, " head coach Hung Ling-yao was quoted as saying, adding that Taiwan NT relied heavily on veterans offensively and let the young players make stops on the defensive end.

Taiwan U-16 women wins bronze in Pune


Taiwan U-16 women NT beat South Korea 66-63 in the bronze medal game, finishing for 3rd place in FIBA Asia U-16 Women Championship in Pune, India.

In the semifinal games, Taiwan lost to Japan, 79-49, while China routed South Korea 110-42. China, who wins gold with a 99-86 win over Japan in the title game, and Japan qualified for FIBA U-17 Women World Championship next year.

Friday, December 04, 2009

ESPN nips 2009-10 SBL TV deal

ESPN will be the main broadcaster for the 2009-10 SBL season after agreeing a deal that worth NT$28 million (US$870,000) which also includes broadcast distribution and marketing rights.

The announcement was made amid the fear of the league not being able to open on time as little progress has been made toward the new season. The public also showed concerns for fan support after a number of popular local players, including Chen Hsin-an and Lin Chih-chieh, left Taiwanese basketball and signed with Chinese teams.

The done deal means SBL teams have secured the largest share of revenue of their annual operation since these team traditionally don't do anything to promote and market themselves.

The National Sports Council, Taiwan's highest sports governing body, also said that it will provide the league with a NT$7 million subsidy as a support for the league that is weathering a difficult time like all sports.

Which means the league has secured NT$35 million in revenue with each team receiving a guaranteed NT$5 million for the new season, which will tip off on January 9 in Miaoli.

In terms of import hiring, team representatives were saying that there will be foreign players playing next season but nothing has been decided yet.

"It's expected that everything will be the same as last year. Same height limit (200cm or 6-7), same salary cap with a maximum of US$10,000 per month, and one import for each team, " Dacin Tigers representative Wang Tsai-hsiang said.

Taiwan U-16 women now 4-0 in Pune

Led by Chen Tsai-yi's 33 points and backup center Huang Hsiang-ting's 18 points and 10 boards, Taiwan U-16 women NT routed its southern neighbor the Philippines 110-30 to go 4-0 in FIBA Asia U-16 Women Championship in Pune, India.

Taiwan is now tied with China at 4-0 and will battle for the top spot in Group A of the tournament, which will send its top two finishers to the World Championship next year.

2009 EAG: Taiwan men routs Macau


Six players scored in double-digit as Taiwan cruised past Macau 118-59 Thursday night in its opening game in the 2009 East Asian Games in Hong Kong.

Taiwan was led by Chang Chih-feng and Yang Ching-min who each scored 17 points. Center Wu Tai-hao had 15 points and four blocks in limited playing time. Lin Chih-chieh and Chen Shun-hsiang, who made his national team debut, had 12 points respectively.

Taiwan shot 17-of-35 from the three-point land but only connected 9 of its 16 free-throw opportunities.

2009 EAG: Taiwan women beat Japan


A 15-0 run in the third period helped Taiwan women's NT to a crucial 76-63 win over rival Japan in the 2009 East Asian games Thursday as Taiwan eyed for a top finish in the single round-robin preliminary round.

Taiwan (2-1) beat Hong Kong 112-47 Wednesday after losing a 69-61 decision to China Tuesday in the opening game.

Taiwan virtually locked up its place in the semi after beating Hong Kong because there are only five teams in the women competition: Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea.

Game summary:

Taiwan 76-63 Japan: Liu Chun-yi 22p+7rb, Cheng Hui-yun 19p+8rb
Taiwan 112-47 Hong Kong: Huang Fan-shan 18p, Hsu Chien-hui 13p, Huang Ying-li 13p
Taiwan 61-69 China: Liu Chun-yi 25p, Cheng Hui-yun 17p+4rb

Monday, November 30, 2009

Taiwan NT looks to defend EAG title

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Taiwan NT left for Hong Kong today with one goal in their minds -- defending its title in the East Asian Games (EAG) next month in Hong Kong.

That's a lofty goal for a team which only finished for 5th place in Asia, you think. Even if Taiwan won't meet powerful West Asian teams such as Iran, Lebanon and Jordan in the EAG nor its longtime rival in the south -- the Philippines, there are still plenty of good teams in East Asia.

Which is true. To win gold, Taiwan still needs to beat South Korea, Japan and perennial Asian powerhouse China.

However, these countries are not sending their national teams to Hong Kong. China, Japan and South Korea all decided to send second NT or select teams to the EAG, the quadrennial meet which has gradually lost its luster throughout the years, giving Taiwan a legitimate chance for a repeat.

Taiwan NT head coach Chung Kwang-hee did not hesitate to speak his mind, saying that the team looks for bring home its third EAG men's basketball gold after winning it all in 1993 and 2005.

Taiwan, which is in the same bracket with Macau, Mongolia and China, will meet Macau in the opening game on Dec. 2 and is expected to meet either Japan or South Korea in the semifinal.


Taiwan men's NT roster for 2009 East Asian Games

Po., Name, Ht., Age
G Lee Hsueh-lin, Yulon, 175cm, 25
G Chen Shih-nian, TB, 180cm, 25
G Yang Ching-min, TB, 188cm, 25
G Chang Chih-feng, Dacin, 183cm, 28
F Chen Shun-hsiang, BOT, 188cm
F Lin Chih-chieh, TB, 192cm, 27
F Chen Tse-wei, Dacin, 200cm, 24
F Tien Lei, Dacin, 202cm, 26
F Yang Che-yi, Yulon, 193cm, 31
F Wu Chien-lung, Pure Youth, 193cm, 20
C Tseng Wen-ting, Yulon, 202cm, 25
C Wu Tai-hao, TB, 202cm, 24

Head coach: Chung Kwang-suk
Assistants: Chou Jun-san, Hsu Ching-tse


Taiwan women's NT roster for 2009 East Asian Games

Cheng Hui-yun C 186cm 32
Liu Chun-yi F 180cm 28
Chang Ning C 186cm 22
Chang Shih-chieh G 172cm 23
Hsu Chien-hui G 171cm 20
Wu Hsin-ying F 177cm 22
Huang Ying-li G 170cm 20
Yang Ya-hui G 170cm 20
Wu Min-fang G 174cm 22
Lee Wan-ting F 180cm 23
Chen Yu-chun F 176cm 22
Huang Fan-shan G 174cm 22

Head coach: Hung Ling-yao
Assistants: Chien Wei-chuan, Teng Pi-yun


2009 EAG Primer

Taiwan Men's NT
-- 8 teams
-- Preliminary: Two groups of four
Group A: Macau, Taiwan, Mongolia, China
Group B: Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Guam
-- Top two in each group advance to the semifinal round
-- Schedule:
Dec. 3 15:30 vs. Macau
Dec. 5 13:15 vs. Mongolia
Dec. 7 20:00 vs. China

Taiwan Women's NT
-- 6 teams
-- Preliminary: Single round robin. Top four advance to the semifinal round
-- Schedule:
Dec. 2 11:00 vs. China
Dec. 3 17:45 vs. Hong Kong
Dec. 4 13:15 vs. Japan
Dec. 6 11:00 vs. Guam
Dec. 7 11:00 vs. Korea

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Taiwan claims 5th in Asia Men's U-16

FIBA_asia (by Eurobasket News)

Taiwan U16 - Japan U16 71:66

Taiwan earned the fifth overall position in the U16 Asia Championship that just finished in Malaysia. Taiwan outscored Japan on the final day of the tournament. Yang Hsing-Chih knocked down 20 points and grabbed 8 rebounds to lead Taiwan.

Taiwan led right from the start as they ensured a 17:10 advantage at the first break. Japan managed just 8 points in the second period and trailed by 19 points at halftime. But the second half belonged to Japan. They went on a comeback rally and almost denied the deficit. Taiwan needed some luck to escape with a narrow win at the end.

Kao Po-Yu had 19 points and 11 boards in the win. Ryo Tawatari responded with 18 points for Japan. Tsukasa Tano notched 13 points, 6 boards and 4 assists in the victory.

Taiwan: Yang Hsing-Chih 20, Kao Po-Yu 19+11 boards
Japan: Ryo Tawatari 18, Tsukasa Tano 13


1. China
2. Korea
3. Iran
4. Philippines
5. Taiwan
6. Japan
7. Syria
8. Jordan
9. Kazakhstan
10. India
11. Malaysia
12. Bahrain
13. Kuwait
14. Singapore
15. Saudi Arabia
16. Thailand

PS: China defeated South Korea 104-69 in a blowout win to claim the crown.

UBA: Mingdao rally for upset victory over Chinese Culture

By Paul Huang
Saturday, Nov 28, 2009, Page 19

Mingdao University upset Chinese Culture University 70-68 as ­preliminary-round action in the annual University Basketball Association (UBA) tournament continued at the Fu Jen Catholic University in Sinjhuang on Thursday evening.

The newest team in Division I basketball proved that their promotion from Division II this season was no fluke by downing the runners-up from last season’s title game.

Mingdao received an outstanding performance from point guard Wu Min-shien, whose fade-away jumper with under a minute remaining in the game gave his side a four-point lead.

Also starring for Mingdao was forward Huang Jia-ming, who got himself in a great position under the basket for an easy put-back bucket following a miss by Wu to seal the victory in a game in which they trailed for most of the first half.

“It was a big win for us, there’s no doubt about that,” said Mingdao skipper Chia Fan, who has singlehandedly brought Mingdao to prominence with an elite recruiting class from last year.

Chinese Culture were well on their way to picking up their second victory of the competition after taking the lead early on, but fell victim to foul trouble as their top guns Lu Cheng-ru and Wu Jien-long were held to limited action with three first-half fouls apiece.

NTUA 124, TPEC 83

Fourteen three-pointers boosted National Taiwan University of the Arts (NTUA) to 73 points in the first half as they breezed past Taipei Physical Education College (TPEC) for their first win of the competition.

NTUA vented their frustration over a loss to National Dong Hwa University the night before by converting more than half of their shots from the floor (43-for-76) en route to the lopsided win.

Lai Guo-wei’s game-high 33 points led the way for NTUA.

Thursday’s other results:
‧ National Taiwan Normal University 104, Diwan University 77
‧ Hsing Wu University 87, National Taiwan College of Physical Education 79
‧ Fu Jen Catholic University 98, National Donghwa University 74
‧ National Taiwan Sports University 68, National Kaohsiung Normal University 65

UBA: Fu Jen defeat reigning champs in UBA opener

By Paul Huang
Friday, Nov 27, 2009, Page 20

Preliminary-round action of the annual University Basketball Association tournament commenced at the Fu Jen Catholic University in Sinjhuang on Wednesday when the hosts topped the defending champions from National Taiwan Normal University 84-78.

Point guard Chou Tzu-hua led the scorers with 17 points for Fu Jen, who enjoyed a tremendous home-court advantage in front of a packed house as they led from the early minutes all the way to the final buzzer.

National Taiwan Normal trailed by as many as 13 points in the second half. They rallied to within four points of Fu Jen, before falling a little short in the fourth quarter to lose the game by six points.

Chou was at his best when it counted most for Fu Jen, as 13 of his game-high 17 points came in the final quarter to help prevent National Taiwan Normal from turning the tide.

“I will try to keep my emotions under control,” Chou said.

He has a history of losing his cool, which last season led to a season-ending suspension.

Wednesday’s other results: National Dong Hwa University 69, National Kaohsiung Normal University 60; Mingdao University 93, National Taiwan Sports University 78; National Taiwan University of Arts 89, Diwan University 68; National Taiwan College of Physical Education 84, Taipei Physical Education College 79; Chinese Culture University 73, Hsing Wu College 61.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Ex-Taiwan NT assistant banned by NBA for gambling

20080410150400c71fe Former Taiwan NT assistant coach and Sacramento Kings assistant director of scouting Jack Mai has been banned by the NBA for betting money on league games, including those involving the Kings, Yahoo! Sports reported.

Jack Mai coached Luckipar Panthers in 1995-96 and registered 12 wins and 18 losses in 30 games in the Chinese Basketball Alliance, a Taiwanese pro league folded in 2000 after five seasons.

He worked as Panthers' general manager after that until the CBA went out of business.

Mai assisted late Yulon head coach Chien Yi-fei and led Taiwan NT to a silver medal finish in the 2001 East Asian Games in Osaka, Japan.

He was instrumental in landing Chen Hsin-an an opportunity to try out for the Kings in 2002. Chen was cut after appearing in two preseason games and did not make the opening day roster, however.

He also brought Tien Lei to play for the Kings in the Southern California Summer Pro League a few years later.

Ex-assistant scouting director gambled with Kings

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- The Sacramento Kings say they've been informed by the NBA that a former employee gambled while on their staff.

Jack Mai, the team's former assistant director of scouting, was found to have gambled while with the Kings, who fired him in January. Last season was his eighth with the franchise and third as assistant director of scouting.

The Kings' release says the "investigation revealed that Mr. Mai participated in improper wagering activities while a member of this organization." The Kings say Mai has been disqualified from further association with the NBA and its teams.

The league has taken gambling especially seriously since former referee Tim Donaghy admitted taking thousands of dollars from a professional gambler in exchange for inside tips, including games he worked.


NBA bans Kings scout for gambling on team
Adrian Wojnarowski

The NBA has banned former Sacramento Kings assistant director of scouting Jack Mai for betting money on league games, including those involving the Kings, Yahoo! Sports has learned.

The league informed teams in a memo on Wednesday afternoon that an investigation revealed Mai bet on NBA games “limited to small amounts of money among acquaintances and there is no evidence that he ever attempted to use his position with the Kings to influence the outcome of any NBA game.”

Mai bet on the Kings’ games for years, “some for, and some against,” a league source told Yahoo! Sports.

When reached by phone on Wednesday afternoon, Mai said only, “I resigned,” and declined further comment.

The NBA told teams they can never employ, nor use Mai in a consultant’s capacity. League rules forbid employees from betting on any NBA games, especially those involving their own teams.

“We take this matter very seriously, and we fully cooperated with the NBA’s investigation,” the Kings said in a statement.

Business partners of Mai tipped the NBA to his betting, a league source told Yahoo! Sports. After eight years with the organization, the Kings fired Mai early in 2009. Besides the gambling investigation, one league source said Mai had “questionable business dealings with Korean and Chinese basketball teams and leagues.”

“He was using his position with the Kings to make business deals for players, equipment, etc., and appearances by NBA players in Asia for money,” the source said.

Donaghy tried to peddle a tell-all book that would’ve alleged further impropriety among officials and the league, but the publisher said the threat of potential liability ultimately killed the book’s release.


Scouting assistant Mai gambled
Associted Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The Sacramento Kings said Wednesday they were informed by the NBA that a former employee gambled while on their staff.

Jack Mai, the team's former assistant director of scouting, was found to have gambled while with the Kings, who fired him in January. Last season was his eighth with the franchise and third as assistant director of scouting.

Kings owner Joe Maloof said the team fired Mai as soon as it found out through general manager Geoff Petrie that Mai had been wagering.

"I wasn't aware that he was betting. But the minute we found out he was doing something wrong we had to let him go," Maloof said. "People should know that you are not allowed to bet on NBA games. It's against the bylaws, it's against the rules."

The Kings' release said the "investigation revealed that Mr. Mai participated in improper wagering activities while a member of this organization." The Kings said Mai had been disqualified from further association with the NBA and its teams.

NBA spokesman Tim Frank confirmed Mai's disqualification and said reinstatement was not possible, but said the league would have no other comment.

The league has taken gambling especially seriously since former referee Tim Donaghy admitted taking thousands of dollars from a professional gambler in exchange for inside tips, including games he worked.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Yen signs with Shanghai

Central News Agency reported that Taiwan Beer backup point guard Yen Hsin-shu has signed with China's Shanghai Sharks in what will be his second stint in the Chinese pro league CBA.

Yen, 33, played for Yunnan Honghe in 2007 and averaged 8.1 points, 5.2 assists and 1.6 steals for the season.

The former national team starter shocked everyone by retiring in 2004 at the age of 28 and went into the show business, saying that he was disappointed with Taiwanese basketball environment.

Yen's venture to the glittering showbiz world was not successful however, which was probably why he came out of retirement and picked up a basketball again by testing his skill in China in 2007 before joining Taiwan Beer.

It was reported that Shanghai, which is now owned by Houston Rockets center Yao Ming, signed Yen for one year with the salary of RMB$250,000 (US$36,620).

Yen became the fifth Taiwanese player to sign with a Chinese club this year, following Lin Chih-chieh, Chen Hsin-an, Hsu Hao-cheng and Lin Kwan-lun.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Formation of new organization looks like dead

Local media reported over the weekend that formation of a new basketball organization looked like a thing in the past as Taiwan Beer and Yulon management both pulled an about-face, reaffirming their support for the CTBA and the SBL.

Representatives from five of seven SBL teams said last week that they were planning to establish a new committee, Super Basketball Developmental Committee, to tackle on SBL marketing.

Dacin Tigers, which is owned by CTBA President Wang Jen-da, and Bank of Taiwan, a state-owned bank, were not invited to join the new committee, which was scheduled to launch on Nov. 17.

It was reported that Taiwan Beer Chairman Wei Po-tao reiterated TB’s support for the SBL and the SBL Committee, a committee under the CTBA in charge of league-wide affairs in a public statement.

The astonishing statement was basically a slap in the face for TB head coach Yen Chia-hwa, who has been an integral part of the new committee with the ultimate goal of forming a new professional league free of CTBA’s control.

Since Yen’s boss has spoken, Yen would have no choice but to play the game under CTBA’s playbook.

Yulon management was also said to phone in its support for the CTBA.

Sports Affairs Council, Taiwan’s highest sports affairs governing body, chairwoman Tai Hsia-ling told the media last week that the SAC will do whatever it takes to make sure the 2009-10 SBL season tip off on January 9 next year.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chen going to Guangdong

Apple Daily reported that Yulon Luxgen forward Chen Hsin-an is scheduled to go to China next Sunday and is expected to sign with Dongguan New Century.

Chen, who had surgeries on both knees in June, is working on his conditioning to prepare for the upcoming season in China, which will tip off on Dec. 19.

Once the biggest star in Taiwanese basketball, Chen has been plagued by injuries during the past three years and his skill deteriorated.

With or without Chen, Yulon has been and will always be competitive with the core of center Tseng Wen-ting and a group of aggressive and experienced guards. Which was why Yulon let go of Chen.

Sources told me that Yulon planned to send Chen to Shanxi but Chen opposed the move. Luxgen head coach Zhang Xue-lei, sources said, made up his mind that Yulon would stay competitive without Chen. At the same time he can be a valuable asset for his good friend Wu Qing-long, Shanxi's head coach.

Feeling unwanted, Chen then made his move to contact Chinese teams although he's still under contract. He figured that Yulon would let him do whatever he wanted again, just like what happened in 2002 when he tried out for Sacramento Kings and 2005, when he signed a lucrative contract with ETSN Antelopes before changing mind and re-joining Yulon.

Guess what? Chen was right. Not only Yulon approved his transfer to China but Yulon decided not to challenge Chen's breach of contract.

SN01_002 SN01_006

On other news, Lin Chih-chieh, who's currently in Zhejiang's pre-season training camp, said that his goal for the new season is averaging 10-15 points and 5 assists.

But Lin will have to make a major adjustment in his game, which contains a lot of penetration. Zhejiang head coach Wang Fei, a former Chinese NT member, stresses a lot on set-up plays which require less penetration, more ball movement, cutting and screening.

(Photo: Apple Daily)

Saturday, November 07, 2009

New basketball organization in the making

Did I say Taiwanese basketball never ceases to amaze me? Well, here's the latest example. Liberty Times reported Saturday that five of seven SBL teams plan to set up a new committee to tackle on the marketing issue.

Dacin Tigers, which is owned by CTBA President Wang Jen-da, and Bank of Taiwan, a state-owned bank, were not invited to join the Super Basketball Developmental Committee, which will officially established on Nov. 17.

Taiwan Mobile general manager Wang Hong-shen said the committee looks to improve the marketing aspect of the SBL and will not be competing with the SBL Committee, comprised of team representatives and CTBA officials, for the leadership and organizational power.

"It is a division of labor, " Wang said.

CTBA deputy secretary-general Wang Jen-shen expressed his disappointment toward the move. "The move will destroy what the league has accomplished during the past six years if they want to take the matters in their own hands." Wang was referring to game operations, including venue and officiating.

"I doubt they will be able to set up all those things before the season opener in January, " he said.

The strange thing is:

1. The new committee excludes Dacin and BOT although it stresses that marketing will be its only goal. If that is true, why do they decide to left two teams out in the cold?

2. Although the new committee stresses that marketing will be its main goal, Wang Jen-shen still presumed that it's trying to take charge of everything eventually.

Do you smell something?

Wang jen-shen is not stupid. And I bet he's thinking what I'm thinking: these teams are trying to break away fro m the CTBA to set up their own league -- again.

However I don't think Wang and the CTBA are panicking any time soon. SBL teams have threatened to leave the league and set up a new one like...a million times, but they never actually did anything.

It will be interesting to see how this thing develops though.

Friday, November 06, 2009

2009 SBL local draft no. 1 pick...Doug Creighton?


Doug Creighton was selected by Bank of Taiwan Wednesday as the No. 1 pick in the 2009 SBL Local Draft.

Wait. You ask, "Hasn't Creighton played in the SBL for two years?"

Yes, you're right. He played for Pure Youth and Bank of Taiwan in the past two years.

But you're also wrong, because he played as a foreigner during those years and this will be the first year he plays as a local after obtaining a Taiwanese I.D.

As crazy as it may seem, Doug Creighton was handed a BOT jersey from BOT head coach Lai Liang-chung, the man he played for last season, in the draft ceremony. Check the photo here.


In a relatively meaningless local draft, five of 12 applicants were selected by SBL teams. Pure Youth, Yulon and Dacin did not pick up anyone. Taiwan Mobile picked Taiwan Junior NT member Chen Po-wei at No. 2. At No.3 KKL selected 200cm center Lan Ching-chieh from NKNU. Taiwan Beer selected point guard Yang Nung.

KKL added point guard Hsu Bing-yen in the second round.

The draft is pretty much meaningless because most of the players picked up would not be able to play right away. According to the agreement between the SBL and the UBA (University Basketball Association), college players are not allowed to play in the SBL before their junior year.

Which means, if you select a high school graduate in the draft, he would not be playing for you in two years.

The SBL tried to pattern the draft after the NBA draft or most drafts you see elsewhere, but some teams never take the draft seriously. Yulon Luxgen, which has the largest budget among seven SBL teams, added promising prospect Lin Chieh-min to its roster prior to last season without going through the local draft.

Funny thing is that nobody said a word about it! And the SBL Committee never do anything about it. No fines and penalty. No condemnation. No statement. Everyone acted like it has never happened.

It's not surprising to see that the draft which had a good intention at the first place has become a joke.

(Photo source: Apple Daily)

Thursday, November 05, 2009

New wave of Taiwanese players exodus?

8357362_c4148ba252 Chen Hsin-an.

Several local media reported that at least three players, including Yulon Luxgen star forward Chen Hsin-an, will sign with Chinese teams and play in China next season and a news wave of Taiwanese players exodus to China looked inevitable.

According to the reports, Taiwan Beer point guard Hsu Hao-cheng and former Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor (KKL) guard Lin Kwan-lun, who was released in the summer, will sign with Shanxi, one of 18 teams in Chinese pro league CBA (Chinese Basketball Association).

Hsu signed a one-year contract and will be paid US$15,000 and Lin signed a two-year contract of a monthly salary of US$8,000.

It was also reported that Chen Hsin-an, one of the best players in Taiwan, will sign with Guangdong for an annual salary of NT$11M (US$340,000) which is 7.6 times of his current salary with Yulon.

Taiwan Beer forward Lin Chih-chieh was the first Taiwanese player to sign with Chinese club this year, inking a one-year contract with Zhejiang in September which will earn him around US$15,000 per month plus incentives.

However, Central News Agency reported that Chen has not signed with any team although he expressed his wish to play in China for better salary.

Chen was quoted as saying that it was true that he has been in contact with three CBA teams, but stories about the NT$11M salary were incorrect.

The 29-years-old forward still has two years left in his contract with Yulon. The interesting thing was that Yulon' general manager Chiang Yu-cheng told a press conference that the team will grant Chen his letter of clearance which allows him to transfer his registration to Chinese basketball authority.

These are not all. Taiwan Beer head coach Yen Chia-hwa was quoted by the media saying that TB center Wu Tai-hao has been courted by as many as six CBA teams with lucrative offers. Yen would not let of Wu, however, stressing that Wu is an irreplaceable piece in TB's quest for the SBL title.

Rumor said Yulon lead guard Lee Hsueh-lin is entertaining the idea of playing in China for better pay, too.

All these rumors make you wonder what will the 2009-2010 SBL season look like when it tips off next January. Will half of Taiwan NT players play in the opposite side of the Taiwan Strait?

On the other hand, I guess we can't blame the players for dumping the SBL for greener pasture when the league they try to leave behind is one which is still without a TV contract and not knowing whether it should allow foreign players or not with one month before its season opener.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

High hopes for Taiwan in inaugural Asia U-16 Championship

A pair of Taiwan's U-16 NTs will participate in the inaugural Asia U-16 Championships in the next two months looking for a seat in FIBA U-17 Championships next year.

A quick look at the inaugural tournament:

Taiwan men's U-16 NT is among 17 teams in the championship which will be held in Johor Bahru, Malaysia from November 11-29. Placing in the same group with Iran, Thailand and Saudi Arabia, Taiwan will have to finish in the top two to advance to the quarterfinal round.

Taiwan women's U-16 NT is heading for Pune, India for the competition to be held from November 20 to December 6. Twelve participating teams will be divided into two preliminary groups. Taiwan is bracketed in the same group with China, Singapore, Philippines, Hong Kong and India. report on Asia U-16 Championship

Iran drawn in Group D; China in Group A: FIBA Asia U16 Championship

JOHOR BAHRU (FIBA Asia U16 Championship): Seventeen teams drawn will battle it out in the inaugural FIBA Asia U16 Championship to be played in this Malaysian city from Nov 19-27, 2009.

The draw for the preliminary round of Championship was concluded on Monday.

The top two teams from the Championship will qualify for the inaugural 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship to be played in Hamburg, Germany from July 2-11, 2010.

Iran, who are the current champions of the FIBA Asia Championship (for Senior men) as also the FIBA Asia U18 Championship, have been drawn along side Chinese Taipei, Saudi Arabia and Thailand in Group C.

Iran also recently bagged the gold medal at the WABA U16 Championship played in Lebanon, while qualifying for this Championship.

Traditional powerhouses China are drawn in Group A with challenge coming from Myanmar, India and Jordan.

Jordan recently finished second behind Iran in the WABA U16 Championship.

Myanmar make their debut in FIBA Asia competitions.

Group B brings in an interesting round of competition among East Asia’s Japan, SEABA’s Philippines and Middle Asia’s Kazakhstan along with Gulf sub-zone U16 champions Bahrain.

Group C has five teams, one additional team more than the other three groups.

Hosts Malaysia join fellow SEABA nation Singapore, East Asian giants Korea, WABA bronze medalists Syria and Gulf zone’s Kuwait in Group C.

The top two teams from the four groups will advance into the top half of the Quarterfinal round with the eight teams being drawn into two groups of four teams each in the following manner:
Group I: A1, B2, C1, D2
Group II: B1, A2, C2, D1.

The other teams in the four preliminary round groups will head off into the Quarterfinal round in a similar fashion, but playing for the 9-17 positions.

The top two teams from Groups I and II will qualify for the semifinals. The winners of the semifinals will play for the gold medal and the losers for the bronze.

The teams playing the gold medal game will represent FIBA Asia in the 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship.

Groupings for Preliminary round:

Group A: China, India, Jordan, Myanmar.
Group B: Bahrain, Japan, Kazakhstan, Philippines.
Group C: Korea, Kuwait, Malaysia, Singapore, Syria.
Group D: Chinese Taipei, Iran, Thailand, Saudi Arabia.

S Mageshwaran

Twelve in fray for inaugural FIBA Asia U16 Championship for Women

PUNE (FIBA Asia U16 Championship for Women): Twelve teams drawn into two groups of six teams each will match wits in the inaugural FIBA Asia U16 Championship for Women to be played in this historic city near India’s financial capital Mumbai from Nov 30-Dec 6, 2009.

The draw for the Championship was conducted on Monday, along side the draw for the FIBA Asia U16 Championship (for Men) at Malaysian city Johor Bahru, which will host the men’s event.

“Since this was the inaugural Championship, we decided to conduct a draw for the preliminary round,” explained FIBA Asia Secretary General Dato’ Yeoh Choo Hock.

“From the next Championship, we will consider dividing the teams will be divided into Level I and II like how we do for the other women’s events,” he added.

The top two teams from the Championship will represent FIBA Asia in the inaugural FIBA U17 World Championship for Women to be played in France from July 16-25, 2010.

Ten of the teams figuring in the FIBA Asia U16 Championship for Women played in the recently concluded 23rd FIBA Asia Women Championship.

Singapore and Hong Kong replace Lebanon and Uzbekistan from the fray that played at Chennai, but neither of them are new comers to FIBA Asia competitions especially among women.

Hosts India have been drawn in Group A, which also features China and Chinese Taipei. Both Singapore and Hong Kong have been drawn in Group A with Philippines completing the challenge.

Korea and Japan head the competition in Group B with challenge coming from Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Kazakhstan.

The top two teams from each group will qualify for the semifinals. The winners of the semifinals will play for the gold medal and the losers for the bronze.

The teams playing the gold medal game would have already qualified for the 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship for Women.

Groupings for Preliminary Round:

Group A: China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, India, Philippines, Singapore
Group B: Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka.

S Mageshwaran

Taiwan men's NT to defend EAG title

eag_logo Taiwan men's NT will try to defend its East Asian Games title when the quadrennial competition takes place in Hong Kong in December while Taiwan women's NT looks to revenge its loss to China in the title game four years ago in Macau.

2009 EAG Primer

Taiwan Men's NT
-- 8 teams
-- Preliminary: Two groups of four
Group A: Macau, Taiwan, Mongolia, China
Group B: Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Guam
-- Top two in each group advance to the semifinal round
-- Schedule:
Dec. 3 15:30 vs. Macau
Dec. 5 13:15 vs. Mongolia
Dec. 7 20:00 vs. China

Taiwan Women's NT
-- 6 teams
-- Preliminary: Single round robin. Top four advance to the semifinal round
-- Schedule:
Dec. 2 11:00 vs. China
Dec. 3 17:45 vs. Hong Kong
Dec. 4 13:15 vs. Japan
Dec. 6 11:00 vs. Guam
Dec. 7 11:00 vs. Korea

Monday, October 19, 2009

Shanxi wins 2009 Guanhu Cup Invitational Tournament


Lee Benson and Donta Smith dominated the tournament throughout as China's Shanxi won the 2009 Guanhu Cup Invitational Tournament in the eastern Taiwan resort city of Hualien Sunday after routing Taiwan Beer 102-69 in the title game.

However, the annual tournament which was also known as Hualien Probation Basketball (HPB) tournament has been marred by none other than South Korea's Kyunghee University. The KU team, one of South Korean college basketball powerhouses, boycotted the game on opening day before going for a bench-clearing brawl on the final day.

5200254-2203831 The most intriguing team is the US team, which consists of mostly Afghan players coming from the U.S. I haven't had the chance to see them play since no TV station broadcast the tournament this year.

A good news for Yulon was the return of Chen Hsin-an, who had both of his knees operated in the U.S. this summer. Sitting out for almost the enitre year, Chen Hsin-an was still rusty in his first game back, scoring 6 points and pulling down 6 rebounds in 26 minutes.

Taiwan Beer signed a pair of veterans in Shan Wei-fan and Shin Jin-jan to fill the void of Lin Chih-chieh, who left taiwan to play for China's Zhejiang this year.

Oct. 14
Shanxi 91-76 Yulon
US 99-45 Malaysia
KKL 84-76 Dacin
TB 62-60 Kyunghee Univ.

Oct .15
Kyunghee Univ. 84-81 KKL
Shanxi 91-52 Malaysia
Yulon 82-65 US
TB 78-75 Dacin

Oct. 16
US 75-71 Shanxi
TB 94-85 KKL
Yulon 94-64 Malaysia
Kyunghee 73-58 Dacin

Oct. 17
Shanxi 94-76 Kyunghee Univ.
TB 90-82 Yulon
US 79-66 Dacin

Oct. 18
3rd-place game: Yulon 83-73 Kyunghee Univ.
Title game: Shanxi 102-69 TB
Final Placing:
1. Shanxi
2. Taiwan Beer
3. Yulon
4. Kyunghee University






(Photos: Liberty Times, Apple Daily,

Friday, October 09, 2009

NBA Taipei Game message

Pacers beat Nuggets 126-104 in 1st game in Taiwan


TAIPEI, Taiwan(AP) In the first NBA preseason game played in Taiwan, the Indiana Pacers defeated the Denver Nuggets 126-104 on Thursday.

Troy Murphy, Brandon Rush and Roy Hibbert each scored 20 points for the Pacers, who led throughout the game in front of a sellout crowd of 13,599 at the Taipei Arena.

"We're probably about 35 percent ready for the season,'' Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "We executed tonight what we practiced.''

Carmelo Anthony led the Nuggets with 17 points. J.R. Smith added 16 points and Chauncey Billips and Joey Graham each had 14.

"Right now, we're not playing with a good rhythm,'' Nuggets coach George Carl said. "We have to find answers by (the season opener on) Oct. 28.''

Indiana made 14 of 25 3-pointers, led by Rush, who was 6 for 12. Murphy was 4 for 4 from outside the arc, and A.J. Price was 4 for 6.

The Pacers led by eight points at the end of the first quarter and expanded it to 14 at the half. They led 98-74 heading into the fourth quarter.




Thursday, October 08, 2009

NBA Taipei Game photos




They changed the banner from "Taiwan welcomes the NBA" to "Taipei welcomes the NBA". What the ***…for political reasons?


Taipei Arena.


Larry Bird.

(Source: China Times)

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Pacers embark on historic "trip of a lifetime"


Taipei Arena (top), Wukesong arena in Beijing.

By Conrad Brunner | Oct. 4, 2009

Only two members of the team, T.J. Ford and Brandon Rush, have been to China, none to Taiwan, so the trip the Pacers will embark upon Monday morning offers quite a bit of mystery.

Luther Head, however, found the essence of the journey.

"There's going to be a gym," he said. "Wherever we go, there's going to be a gym."

And that, really, is the point of the thing.

8285834_110874d67f_o The Pacers will travel more than 16,000 miles to two Asian destinations, a seven-day journey sandwiched by 17-hour flights going and coming, to play the first NBA game ever in Taiwan and the fourth in China, both against the Denver Nuggets.

"Personally, I'm very excited for a number of reasons," said Coach Jim O'Brien. "It's a great chance for these guys to spend a lot of time together in a very unique environment.

"It's a trip of a lifetime. These guys will remember this trip for the rest of their lives. Now, my old life, I'm closer to the other end, but this is going to be a lot of fun. I'm very, very excited about the opportunity."

Two games, two practices, two loooooonnnnng flights

The Pacers face the Nuggets Thursday (at 7:30 a.m. Indianapolis time) in Taipei, then re-board their jet and head for Beijing, where they'll play the Nuggets on Sunday (in Indianapolis, that'll be Saturday at midnight). Both games will be broadcast live by Fox Sports Indiana and re-broadcast at 7 p.m. Thursday and Sunday respectively.

"I've come to the realization that basketball over there is going to be limited with the amount of practice we have," said O'Brien. "The chance to play games will be very, very important. But I'm more focused on the event of traveling over to these two countries. I think that's the key thing.

"At some point in time, you have to just go with the flow and this trip, I asked for like four hours of practice one day and they said, 'You can have two hours and then you have to do a media thing.' So it is what it is."

For O'Brien, going with the flow meant cancelling the 6 a.m. practice he had scheduled for Monday morning. Hey, it was his only open time slot for a couple of days. Because the Pacers cross the international date line on their way to Taiwan, they won't arrive until roughly 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

"I'm looking forward to this trip," said Troy Murphy. "It's going to be really cool. I've never been anywhere near there. I never thought in my life I'd be able to go over there and play in an NBA game. It's really an honor and I'm excited to be a part of it."

Murphy, however, has this issue with bumpy flights.

"I'm not a great turbulence person," he said. "I'm an OK flier. I'll sit on a plane all day if it's smooth. But if it's a 10-minute flight and it's bouncing around, I'm ready to strangle somebody."

Seatmates, be advised.

Little free time in well-planned schedule

The Pacers have practices on Wednesday and Saturday and morning shootarounds on game days. Other than that, their schedule will be packed with a variety of events including:

# Tours of the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial, National Palace Museum & Chin-Shan Garden, Swallow Lake, Wulai Waterfall and, of course, Richshaw Rides in Taipei;

# A trip to the Great Wall and tours of the Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City and the Pearl and Silk Markets in Beijing;

# They'll also participate in NBA Cares event in Taipei benefiting typhoon relief.

"We've got pretty much a packed schedule," said Ford, who accompanied Dwight Howard to Beijing to attend the adidas Superstar Camp in 2006 . "I've been to the Great Wall so I'll be able to give some of those guys the experience. If we have time, I'll show the guys as much as I possibly can.

"I have a big following over there. Their culture is great, I love their culture, they love basketball and they're definitely going to make everyone feel like a superstar."

Dahntay Jones has traveled extensively but this will mark his first trips to Taiwan and China. It's a circuitous route for something of a reunion with friends from his Denver days.

"I definitely can't wait to see some of my old teammates. Those guys are great," he said. "We get a chance to compete and enjoy Taiwan and China, so you can't lose on this trip."


Monday, October 05, 2009

CTBA names 14-man preliminary roster for 2009 East Asian Games


CTBA named 14-man preliminary Taiwan men's NT roster for the 2009 East Asian Games, keeping the entire coaching staff and most of the players in the 2009 Asian Championship with the goal of defending the title it won four years ago in Macao.

CTBA's NT committee announced that all 12 players who played in Tianjin except Jet Chang have been invited back to the squad. Three players who performed well in the Jones Cup last July -- Chen Shun-hsiang (BOT), Chen Shih-nian (TB) and Tsai Wen-cheng (PY) -- were also included in the roster.

Lin Chih-chieh, who left for China Monday to play for CBA's Zhejiang Lions, will be back to Taiwan 10 days before the East Asian Games for Taiwan NT training camp, which opens on November 2.

The roster will be down to 12 players before the East Asian Games, which will be held in Hong Kong from December 5-13.

Korean coach Chung Kwang-suk, who led Taiwan to the 5th place finish in Tianjin, will lead the team once again with the help from assistants Chou Jun-san and Hsu Chin-tse.

While Taiwan NT failed to finish in the top four in the Asian Championship since 1999, it did well in the East Asian Games, winning two gold medals in 1997 and 2005 and one silver in 2001.

Taiwan defeated Japan 60-55 four years ago for the second East Asian Games title.

14-man preliminary roster

Po., Name, Ht., Age
G Lee Hsueh-lin, Yulon, 175cm, 25
G Chen Shih-nian, TB, 180cm, 25
G Su Yi-chieh, Dacin, 181cm, 22
G Yang Ching-min, TB, 188cm, 25
G Chang Chih-feng, Dacin, 183cm, 28
F Chen Shun-hsiang, BOT, 188cm
F Tsai Wen-cheng, PY, 188cm, 24
F Lin Chih-chieh, TB, 192cm, 27
F Chen Tse-wei, Dacin, 200cm, 24
F Tien Lei, Dacin, 202cm, 26
F Yang Che-yi, Yulon, 193cm, 31
F Wu Chien-lung, Pure Youth, 193cm, 20
C Tseng Wen-ting, Yulon, 202cm, 25
C Wu Tai-hao, TB, 202cm, 24

Head coach: Chung Kwang-suk
Assistants: Chou Jun-san, Hsu Ching-tse


Monday, September 28, 2009

Japanese, Taiwanese hoops situations similar

logo BJLogoJpeg

A good friend of mine sent me this Japan Times article. It's a good story which explains the situation Japanese basketball is in currently.

In fact, the situation over there is pretty much similar to what it is in Taiwan. Most of all, incompetent basketball associations…Read on…


Source says JBL teams in trouble, league not viable in long term

Japanese basketball is suffering from an identity crisis. Besides Yuta Tabuse, the average citizen cannot name a handful of other top-level Japanese players. Indeed, this is problem No. 1.

Making matters worse, the Japan Basketball Association, the sport's national governing body, remains woefully incompetent when it comes to assembling a men's national team that can seriously challenge for a spot in the Summer Olympics, having last qualified for the 1976 Montreal Games. This is another Grand Canyon-size issue.

In other words, the sport is irrelevant to most people in Japan.

Now, there is preliminary talk of a future merger between the Japan Basketball League and the upstart bj-league, which began play in the fall of 2005. (A JBA officials meeting will be held next weekend in Niigata.)

With the unwavering support of the JBA's public relations hype machine, the JBL likes to identify itself as the sport's performance and financial blueprint of success in Japan — the nation's true premier league. In reality, though, it's an act eerily similar to a magician's use of smoke and mirrors to complete a trick.

It's an illusion.

"If the bj-league actually agreed to (the merger), it would kill the bj-league, and eventually it would kill any of the bj-league teams that joined," a source told me. "The JBL (business) model, company-sponsored teams that pay all the bills, isn't sustainable because everyone bleeds money."

The evidence vehemently supports that claim.

"Since I have been involved with Japan basketball here, here are some of the JBL teams that have folded: Sumitomo, NKK, Japan Energy, Daiwa, Mitsui Insurance, Denso, Aichi Kikai, Hitachi Osaka, Fukuoka, Bosch (Zexel) and Isuzu," the source, looking back on the past dozen years, told The Japan Times. He also cited Marubeni, a former JBL first-division team that moved down to the second division and then folded.

Furthermore, Kumagai Gumi folded after the 1993-94 season, the OSG Phoenix left the JBL and became the bj-league's Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix after the 2007-08 season, and the teams now called the Saitama Broncos and Niigata Albirex BB defected from the JBL's ranks to help establish the bj-league in 2005.

"To improve basketball in Japan, the JBA and the JBL gave us the 'Super League,' which was just the same JBL, minus teams that folded, with a 'super' new name," the source continued. "Then they announced they would form a 'new' league. They even produced a farewell to the JBL, thanks for the memories. And the following season Japan was blessed with a brand new basketball league called the JBL. Not only the exact same league and the exact same teams, they couldn't even come up with a new name!"

During this year's NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, a discussion of Japanese basketball's current state of affairs came up among coaches.

The source said one JBL head coach expressed his hope that the two leagues would merge in the near future, "or else he feared that the JBL might fold."

"I don't know if he would make that same comment today, but the reality is that other than maybe Toyota and Aisin, all of the JBL teams could fold if they keep losing money."

Rera Kamuy Hokkaido has slashed its budget by about 33 percent for this season and is a team that "could go out of business at any time," he said. What's more, Hitachi's foreign player salaries have been reduced by about 40 percent this season, and Link Tochigi Brex's foreign player salaries are down by 30 to 40 percent, according to the source.

Again: The numbers show the reality that the JBL faces major obstacles in the future.

That's not to say, however, that the bj-league is thriving.

Take the Takamatsu Five Arrows, for example, who on Friday announced they are still ¥55 million short of their estimated necessary budget for this season.

The bj-league "has no major sponsors and no national team players," the source said, pinpointing two major problems for the bj-league, the second of which has been due to the fact that the JBA hasn't sanctioned the bj-league since its inception.

"Money problems have forced many teams to reduce salaries and budgets," he continued. "Oita, Takamatsu and Tokyo have been question marks all summer, although it looks like all three may field some kind of team this season . . . but we have to wait and see. And still there are three teams (Akita, Miyazaki, Shimane) waiting to join next season because of the low cost to get started and the fact that having a team in a small local market does attract support from fans and businesses."

* * * * *

Company-run sports teams are a relic of Japan's post-World War II economic boom. As society changed, illustrated by the Japan Football Association's 100-year plan for the J. League, the model switched to teams being supported and operated by business groups in a local area, rather than by a single corporation.

Which is why many believe the JBL's business model is outdated and its future existence is a question mark.

Another source, with key contacts in the bj-league and the JBL, dished out the following insight about JBL squads:

• Link Tochigi Brex "eyed (joining) the bj-league in the past. . . . The bj-league also shopped for Tabuse in the past, too."

• Toshiba "is hurting financially. Nakano-san (bj-league president/COO Hidemitsu Nakano) won't rest until Kanagawa gets a team. Maybe (the bj-league) will ask for the rights to manage the Brave Thunders since Toshiba refuses to run the team as a pro (team)."

• Hitachi is "ailing like Toshiba."

• Mitsubishi Electric probably won't defect to the bj-league, "but it won't surprise me since the team has been working to earn revenue and not depend on its corporate budget for the last three years. I have spoken to inside people and their ultimate goal is to be fully pro and gain favor by not being excessive baggage for the company."

* * * * *

During this global financial recession, all sports leagues have been affected by economic difficulties, including the NBA. The Miami Heat's basketball operations staff members, for example, took 20 percent pay cuts for the coming season so the team could avoid laying off more employees, recently reported.

Head coach Erik Spoelstra and team president Pat Riley are among those with reduced salaries in the aftermath of the team's May layoffs (20 members of the team's business operations staff).

The above facts are pertinent to the challenges now faced by the bj-league.

Or as this column's primary source pointed out: "If the bj-league stayed its present course, keeping costs down, expanding, but also getting rid of — or finding ways to strengthen — the weak franchises, and stopped worrying about someday pleasing the JBA, in about five years there would only be four to five JBL teams left, and eventually joining the bj-league would be the only option."

He added: "There are no bj-league teams that could really afford to operate as the JBL teams do, so any team that merged or joined the JBL would soon go out of business.

"Any compromise only works if you reduce the salaries for the players on JBL teams, disperse some or all of the JBL players throughout all of the teams, and have a draft to ensure that good college players don't all end up at Toyota or Aisin. I don't see any JBL teams agreeing to any of that anytime soon."

And so the status quo remains — at least for now.

Nevertheless, pro basketball's future in Japan remains cloudy.

"Most likely, there will be no agreement, compromise or merger," the source concluded. "And we will have to wait a few years to see who the survivors are."

Report: Bank of Taiwan overhauls its roster

2077283514_3007bf4727 Bank of Taiwan roster has undergone a complete overhaul which sees release of three veterans, a number of transfers and the signing of eight newcomers, local media reported.

The massive reform is no surprise, considering BOT managed to win only 15 games during the past three seasons and finished dead last among seven SBL teams in each of those years.

Gone are Lin Chun-feng, an inconsistent and temperamental forward who was at one point BOT's best scorer, point guard Chien Ming-fu, who has been the heart and soul in BOT's surprising 2005-06 playoff run in which it pushed the eventual champion Yulon to the brink of elimination, and 200cm center Chou Ben-tang.

Another 200cm center Cheng En-chieh will no longer be playing basketball for BOT. Instead, he will work as a banking staff. Now that's weird!

Guard Lin Chih-lung is expected to sign with Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor (KKL) while eight players -- Lin Kwan-lun, Liu Jui-sheng, Yang Cheng-lun, Sun Hwan-po, Yang Cheng-jung, Hsu Kai-chieh, Hsu Shih-ching and Wu Jun-hsiung -- will be brought in.

Hsu Kai-chieh played for Taiwan Mobile last season. Liu Jui-sheng transferred from Yulon while Hsu Shih-ching played for Pure Youth last season. Lin Kwan-lun played for KKL last year.

Well, BOT will basically be a brand new team after the big change. Will it be a better team? Don't bet on it because it's still coached by someone named Lai Liang-chung. And because BOT management has been doing nothing to promote the team. Actually it desperately wants to get rid of the team which costs it over NT 10 million per year.

Lin Chih-chieh turns down Shanghai, signs with Zhejiang


Taiwan Beer and Taiwan NT forward Lin Chih-chieh announces in a press conference Monday that he has signed with Zhejiang Lions despite a rumored more lucrative offer from Shanghai Sharks.

Details of the contract is not disclosed but it's believed to be a one-year deal that pays Lin more than $15,000 monthly.

The 27-year-old forward said that he chose Zhejiang, the 7th-place team in China's CBA last season, over Shanghai because he likes Zhejiang's players, competition level and experience.

The contract includes a proviso that demands an immediate release of Lin if he's invited by Taiwan NT for international competitions, Taiwan Beer head coach Yen Chia-hua said.

(Photo: CNA)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Lin completes tryouts in China


Taiwan Beer forward Lin Chih-chieh is back to Taiwan and will make a signing decision soon after tryouts with a pair of Chinese CBA teams.

Lin, who will be possibly the most high-profile Taiwanese player to play in China in years, participated in special tryouts with Shanghai Dongfang Sharks and Zhejiang Guangsha Lions in a four-day trip to China.

Saying that he was happy with his performance in the tryouts and very excited about the opportunity to play in China, Lin admitted that he was a little bit tired.

He hasn't made the final decision but said he prefers Zhejiang at the moment.

"The competition level is obviously different. Players are taller and it seems to me that more physical contacts are allowed here. There is more pounding, " he talked about Chinese style of play.

Taiwanese media reported that Shanghai team management loved what they saw, especially Lin's explosiveness. They would love to have Lin as the motor that keeps the Sharks, who finished next-to-last last season and was purchased by Yao Ming recently, running.

Lin had a tryout with Zhejing Thursday morning and did not disappoint. Zhejiang head coach Wang Fei even had a number of set plays designated for Lin in the two-hour practice.

Lin is expected to sign with either team for about US$10,000 per month plus incentives.

(Photo: Apple Daily)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Chennai 2009 - Taiwan women finish out of top three again

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CHENNAI (23rd FIBA Asia Women Championship) - A powerful performance midway through the first half – interrupted only by the first quarter break – helped Japan outsmart Chinese Taipei 72-57 and retain their bronze on Thursday.

The Fumikazu Nakagawa-trained team from the Land of the Rising Sun thus bagged the third berth available to represent FIBA Asia in the 2010 FIBA World Championship for Women scheduled to be held in Czech Republic.

“We had our ups and downs in this Championship, but we have finished on an up,” gushed Nakagawa.

“A few plans and a few didn’t, but what I am happy about is that the plans for the most crucial game worked,” he added.

Taipei kept the exchanges – in plays as well as scoring – almost equal for a better part of the first quarter, but only till Japan found ways to cope with a surprisingly off-colour Yuko Oga.

Noriko Koiso and Ai Mitani stepped up to compensate for Oga’s struggle especially in the first quarter, when she drew a blank on all her six field attempts.

Mitani fired in five points – capping a steal to go with a crisp three-pointer – and assisted Asami Yoshida for a long-ranger and Japan broke away from an equal 8-8 position to close the first quarter 18-11 ahead.

Li Wan-ting’s free-throw and Chu Yung-hsu’s success on the paint saved the blushes for Taipei in that period.

And when the second quarter opened, Oga had found her touch.

The Phoenix Mercury point-guard scored four – apart from an assist and a steal – and Japan scored the first 10 points of the second quarter and consolidated their position.

Li Wan-ting ended the drought for Taipei, but Japan were well on cruise mode thereafter.

Koiso who had scored the first eight points for Japan before Mitani sparked the charge, went on to top score the game with 21 points.

“I know I’m not the best player in my team. Nor am I the star of the team. Therefore, it feels really good when you contribute at a time which matters the most,” said Koiso.

Koiso also grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds.

Mitani, who accounted for 16 points, echoed Koiso’s words: “We know we had lost the opportunity to qualify for the World Championship last time. So our target was very clear when we arrived here. And we were not going to let it go at the most crucial time.”

Oga had a sub-par 10 points, but had six assists.

Yoshida led the game for assists with nine and 11 rebounds, as Japan won the battle of boards 41-26.

“They were far better prepared and better equipped,” said Taipei coach Lin Hung Ling-Yao.

Cheng Hui-yun’s 17 points was the highest for Taipei.

S Mageshwaran

Note: China beat Korea 91-71 to win gold.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Like father, like son?


Imagine that you have a father who was at one point known as "one of the best forwards in Asia" and now you're playing high school ball. The comparison is inevitable.

That was what happened to 16-year-old Cheng Chih-kwan, whose father Cheng Chih-lung has been known as one of the best small forward in Asia and teamed with Yao Ming prior to Yao's NBA career in Shanghai Sharks.

Calling Cheng, who is currently coaching Taiwan Mobile in the SBL, "Taiwanese version of Michael Jordan" is no exaggeration. He led Taiwan to an all-time best runner-up finish in the 1986 Asian Junior Championship as a teenager and later starred in the now-defunct pro league CBA (Chinese Basketball Alliance, 1994-1999), leading Hung-kuo Elephants to three straight titles under American coach Paul Coughter during the second half of the 1990's.

Cheng Chih-kwan was featured in an article by the Central News Agency on Monday. The 185cm (visibly closer to 180cm) high school freshman was playing for defending HBL champion Song-shan High School in the Asian U-16 Championship trial, which will name U-16 NT after the trial tournament.

The junior Cheng looks like a young Cheng Chih-lung but is still raw. What kind of basketball will he be remains to be seen. Give the credit to the elder Cheng though. He put his son in good hands. Song-shan HS head coach Huang Wan-long was known for stressing fundamental, defense and the right attitude.

(Photo: CNA)