Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Go West: Lin Chih-chieh considers playing in China

7969599_5f2e270449_o Local media reported that Taiwan Beer forward/guard Lin Chih-chieh is considering playing in Chinese league CBA (Chinese Basketball Association).

Taiwan Beer marketing director Chen Chien-chou is reported to be the middle man between Lin and at least three CBA teams, including Shanghai Sharks.

Lin, who is coming off a successful showing in the Asian Championship in Tianjin, was quoted as saying that he viewed playing in China as a challenge that could make him a better players by better competition.

"I thought about playing in China years ago. After leading Taiwan Beer to two SBL champions and winning SBL Finals MVP both times, it is time to go because I feel like there's nothing left for me to prove in the SBL, " Lin said.

"I want to prove what I'm capable of doing on the basketball court, " he added.

Lin should be able to get paid for US$ 10,000 per month in China, Chen Chien-chou said. Lin makes NT$ 120,000 per month -- approximately US$ 3,650 -- in Taiwan.

TB head coach Yen Chia-hwa supported Lin's idea, saying that he will do whatever it takes to remove the roadblock on Lin's road to China.

Fearing that the potential exodus of top Taiwanese players will hollow out the domestic league, CTBA announced a "24-man protection list" last June after a circulating rumor saying that Chen Hsin-an would leave Taiwan and play in the CBA for a one-year contract that worth NT$6 million.

The list included 24 national team players and top Taiwanese players, including Lin, Chen Hsin-an, Tseng Wen-ting, Wu Tai-hao and Tien Lei. Protected players were prohibited to play overseas within 12 months.

However, this is year 2009. Is the list still valid?

"If Lin wants to play in China, he has to receive the letter of clearance from the CTBA first before he can register with the CBA. That is the FIBA regulation, " said Wang Jen-shen, CTBA deputy secretary-general.

There are verbal and written commitment between the CTBA and the Chinese basketball authority in hopes of keeping Taiwanese players in Taiwan and preventing Chinese teams from luring too many Taiwanese players away, Wang said.

"We would like to see our boys play in the domestic league, of course, " he said.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

SBL teams mull setting up new league


Dissatisfied with the CTBA's preparation for the new season and lack of trust of the governing body, SBL teams are mulling over establishing a new league, Apple Daily reported Friday.

Chinese Taipei Basketball Association (CTBA) is the highest governing body of Taiwanese basketball. The SBL Committee, which is set up under the CTBA, oversees the administration of the Super Basketball League.

The association has been busy with the Jones Cup and the Asian Championship and hasn't done anything for the new season at all, the newspaper quoted a SBL coach as saying.

Representatives from seven SBL teams have been meeting regularly since late July for a wide range of discussions regarding the news season and the league's future, Apple Daily reported.

This is not the first time that SBL teams consider dumping the CTBA and setting up a true professional league of their own. However, they settled for staying with the SBL every time.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

2009 Asian Championship: Taiwan takes 5th place


TIANJIN (FIBA Asia Championship) - Chinese Taipei defeated Qatar 87-79 to take the fifth place on Sunday.

For Taipei, who had finished sixth in the 2007 FIBA Asia Championship, it was a move up the ranking.

For Qatar too it was an improvement over their last edition finish. The 2005 FIBA Asia Championship bronze medalists Qatar had finished seventh at Tokushima.

Yang Chin-min led the Taipei scoring with 19 points to share the honours for the game with Mustafa Elsayd.

Tien Lie and Lee Hsueh-Lin chipped in with 17 points each in Taipei’s cause.







Stats: Taiwan beat Qatar 87-79 for 5th place


Q1: 24:27
Q2: 20:21
Q3: 22:17
Q4: 13:22

2 Pointers: 24/39 (62%)
3 Pointers: 7/22 (32%)
Free Throws: 10/15 (67%)
Fouls: 18
Steals: 6
Turnovers: 20
Off. Rebounds: 12
Def. Rebounds: 22
Biggest Lead: 8
Biggest run: 9

2 Pointers: 19/30 (63%)
3 Pointers: 9/23 (39%)
Free Throws: 22/26 (85%)
Fouls: 12
Steals: 7
Turnovers: 14
Off. Rebounds: 3
Def. Rebounds: 20
Biggest Lead: 12
Biggest run: 8

top scorer for QATAR: Mustafa Elsayad (19 points, 26 Minutes)
top scorer for CHINESE TAIPEI: Chin-Min Yang (19 points, 26 Minutes)
top rebounder for QATAR: Saad Abdulrahman Ali (7 rebounds, 34 Minutes)
top rebounder for CHINESE TAIPEI: Hsueh-Lin Lee (4 rebounds, 31 Minutes), Lei Tien (4 rebounds, 33 Minutes)
leader in assists for QATAR: Saad Abdulrahman Ali (5 assists, 34 Minutes)
leader in assists for CHINESE TAIPEI: Hsueh-Lin Lee (5 assists, 31 Minutes)

Referees: EGHO Marwan (LIB), BUDDHIKA K. (SRI), JUN Sung Ki (KOR)
Commissioner: CHAN Jimmy (HKG)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Asian Championship Aug. 15 game highlights

Taiwan vs. Korea

Philippines vs. Qatar

Iran vs. Jordan

Friday, August 14, 2009

Taiwan lost to China 101-83


TIANJIN (FIBA Asia Championship) - Chinese Taipei did rather well in the early phases of their quarterfinal game against hosts China on Friday.

The wild card entrants even managed to take a five-point lead in the closing minutes of the first half. But that only piqued the Chinese.

ADNA9062For, the hosts unleashed a scorching 15-2 run from that point to close the second quarter comfortably ahead and continued relentlessly till they finished with a 101-83 win.

The win put former champions China in the semifinals, after finishing 10th at the Tokushima FIBA Asia Championship two years ago.

China seemed to hold the edge in scoring going into the second quarter.

But Tien Lie sprang a surprise on the Chinese, scoring 13 points of his team-high 17 for the game, as Taipei caught their rivals off guard.

But this was to be no David slaying Goliath story.

China who had looked complacent defensively till then, even during the time when they led, pulled up their socks to almost shut Taipei completely out after that.

Rebounds, especially those in defence, played a crucial role in China’s resurgence.

The hosts who had 13 defensive rebounds in the first half, out of a total 20, almost doubled it in the third quarter collecting 22 defensive boards in a total of 32 collections.

ADNA9214China won the battle of boards 43-26 finally.

Yi Jianlian and Wang Zhizhi led the scoring for China with 25 points each, with the former returning a double-double.

New Jersey Nets’ Yi scored 25 points and collected 14 rebounds.

Wang, the first Chinese player to enter the NBA ranks, had eight boards.

Wang Shipeng added 10 in the second half to his first half’s four, including a 2/3 effort in three-pointers as Hu Xuefeng had a game-high six assists – all of them in the second half.

Tien drew a blank in the second half and Chang Tsung-Hsien, who scored 12 of his 14 points for the game ploughed a lone furrow for Taipei.

S Mageshwaran

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Taiwan shuts out Japan, enters last eight

TIANJIN (FIBA Asia Championship) - Wildcard entrants Chinese Taipei showed more variety in their offensive plays and defeated fellow East Asian nation Japan 99-79 in a crucial Group E game on Wednesday.

The win helped Taipei finish their eight-final round with 2-3 record and take the last available quarterfinal place from Group E.

Taipei will now play against the top finishing team of Group F in the quarterfinals slated for Friday.

“It’s quite an achievement entering the last eight in this highly competitive fray,” said Taipei coach Chung Kwang-Suk.

“We’ve had our ups and down. I’m glad we made the quarterfinals,” Chung added.

Japan, who finished 1-4, failed to make the top eight for the first time in the FIBA Asia Championships. They will now play the 9-12 classification.

“It’s not easy talking about of a losing team day in and day out,” said Japan coach Osamu Kuraishi.

“We are going to salvage as much as possible in the classification and play for national pride,” Kurashi added.

“But more importantly we will run a thorough analysis on what went wrong when we get back home,” he said.

Japan held the scoring edge in the first five minutes of the game but a 10-0 run turned the tables in Taipei’s favour.

Taipei didn’t allow Japan to even the tie scores after that.

Taipei unleashed a scorching 14-4 scoring advantage in the first five minutes of the second half to take the game further away leaving Japan no chance to recover.

Tseng-Wen Ting led the Taipei cause, especially in that third quarter charge. Tseng-Wen returned a game-high 20 points, 14 of them in the second half.

Lee Hsueh-Lin and Chang Chih-Feng had held the Taipei campaign on course before that.

Lee Hsueh scored 15 of his game’s 16 points in the first half. And Chang Chih contributed 12 for the game, 10 of them in the first quarter.

Tien Li was consistent throughout for his 16 points.

Joji Takeuchi and Kei Igarashi shared the scoring honours for Japan with 18 points each.

Igarashi was more consistent but Tokeuchi scored 16 of his game’s score in the first half.

S Mageshwaran

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Another close game, another loss for Taiwan NT

ADNA8165 TIANJIN (FIBA Asia Championship) - Korea warded off a spirited third quarter rally by fellow East Asian rivals Chinese Taipei and won their Group E eight-final round game on Tuesday 72-70.

Korea’s 4-0 record earned out of the win now pits them against defending champions Iran – who also have a similar run – on the morrow in a virtual play off for the top place in Group F.

Chinese Taipei are 1-3 and will be involved in a face off of their own against another East Asian nation Japan – who also are 1-3.

Korea scored the first nine points of the game, hung grimly to that advantage and seemed headed for a comfortable ride going into the change room, when they led 43-35.

But Chang Tsung-Hsien and Tien Li sparked a splendid rally in the third quarter when Taipei outscored their rivals 15-9.

As a result Taipei were only two points behind when they started the fourth quarter.

Chang scored five of his game’s 17 points and Tien six of his nine during the third quarter.

Taipei went into lead for the first time in the game when Chen Tzu-Wei sank a three-pointer to raise hopes of an upset result.

ADNA8147 But Korea found their saviour in their reliable centre Kim Joo Sung.

Kim Joo Sung scored eight of his game-high 20 points during the final ten minutes as Korea scraped through.

Yang Heejong with his 15 was the other important scorer for Korea.

“Of course they caught us by surprise,” Korea coach Hur Jae said.

“They have always been a tough side to play against. We are very well aware each other’s game. So such surprises are always possible. We are glad we could scrape through,” Jae added.

“Things began to place rather slowly for us,” said Chinese Taipei coach Chung Kwang-suk.

“But after that early deficit we gave, we had to try real hard to equalize. Against a quality opposition that was not sufficient,” said Chung, incidentally a Korean by origin.

S Mageshwaran

Monday, August 10, 2009

Philippines handed Taiwan first loss in 2nd round

TIANJIN (FIBA Asia Championship) - James Yap scored 15 of his game-high 23 points in the third quarter and SEABA champions Philippines staged a superb second half rally to defeat wild card entrants Chinese Taipei 77-70 in pivotal Group E eight-final round game on Monday.

James Yap returned a 55.55% field record (5/9), including a staggering 4/6 in three-pointers as Philippines outscored Taipei 29-19 in the third quarter.

Philippines who had inched their way back to a two-point deficit by the end of the first half, thus perched themselves firmly in the driving seat.

Yap fired six successive points in less than a minute midway through the first quarter and Philippines had transformed a 38-41 to a 44-41 lead in quick jiffy.

That was the first time Philippines went ahead in the game and they never trailed again.

Yap had no further success in the fourth quarter, but his third quarter blitz was good enough for his team.

Willie Miller Jr had an all-round consistent shooting performance and scored 17 points for Philippines, with a 75% record in field attempts, converting all his five three-pointer attempts.

"I think our shooting percentage was the key especially in three-pointers," Philippines coach Joseller Guiao said.

Philippines went 50% (15/30) in three-pointers as against Taipei's woeful 7% (1/15).

Chinese Taipei who led for the better part of the game suffered a mid-game slump.

"I think their defence really caught us by surprise in the second half," Taipei coach Chung Kwang-suk said.

Tseng Wen-Ting, who went on to finish as Taipei's leading scorer with 21 points, had only three to add in the third quarter to his eight first half points.

Philippines coach Joseller Guiao worked out some tight defence plans, which his players executed and Tseng was restricted to merely one look at the goal for the entire third quarter.

"Not that we had anything special worked out for him (Tseng). It was just that the entire defence stepped up in the third quarter," Guiao said.

"But he's a very good player, and a smart player. He really scared us in the fourth quarter," Guiao added.

Tseng converted that one attempt and fought back gallantly in the fourth quarter reeling in 10 points, but by then Philippines had hot cruise mode.

Miller's three-pointer that almost coincided with the final buzzer sealed the issue.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Asian Championship 1st & 2nd round facts

Preliminary Round Results

Aug. 6
Philippines    Sri Lanka    115 - 31
Kazakhstan    Qatar    62 - 77
Korea    Japan    95 - 74
Iran    Chinese Taipei    71 - 67
India    China    49 - 121
Indonesia    United Arab Emirates    63 - 68
Kuwait    Uzbekistan    69 - 64
Lebanon    Jordan    67 - 84

Aug. 7
Korea    Sri Lanka    122 - 54
Jordan    Indonesia    105 - 47
Lebanon    United Arab Emirates    108 - 38
Chinese Taipei    Kuwait    73 - 51
Kazakhstan    China    56 - 74
Qatar    India    95 - 70
Japan    Philippines    69 - 78
Iran    Uzbekistan    82 - 61

Aug. 8
United Arab Emirates    Jordan    67 - 79
Uzbekistan    Chinese Taipei    78 - 102
Sri Lanka    Japan    45 - 148
Kuwait    Iran    46 - 94
China    Qatar    92 - 61
India    Kazakhstan    72 - 74
Philippines    Korea    56 - 69
Indonesia    Lebanon    36 - 123

Preliminary round standing

Group A
Korea 3-0
Philippines 2-1
Japan 1-2
Sri Lanka 0-3

Group B
Iran 3-0
Taiwan 2-1
Kuwait 1-2
Uzbekistan 0-3

Group C
China 3-0
Qatar 2-1
Kazakhstan 1-2
India 0-3

Group D
Jordan 3-0
Lebanon 2-1
UAE 1-2
Indonesia 0-3

Second Round brackets

Group E
Korea 3-0
Iran 3-0
Philippines 2-1
Taiwan 2-1
Japan 1-2
Kuwait 1-2

Group F
China 3-0
Jordan 3-0
Lebanon 2-1
Qatar 2-1
Kazakhstan 1-2
UAE 1-2

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Photos: Taiwan vs. Uzbekistan






Stats: Taiwan vs. Uzbekistan

Q1: 10:23
Q2: 19:29
Q3: 18:27
Q4: 31:23
2 Pointers: 21/34 (62%)
3 Pointers: 6/26 (23%)
Free Throws: 18/26 (69%)
Fouls: 20
Steals: 7
Turnovers: 23
Off. Rebounds: 12
Def. Rebounds: 31
Biggest Lead: 0
Biggest run: 12
2 Pointers: 24/47 (51%)
3 Pointers: 11/29 (38%)
Free Throws: 21/28 (75%)
Fouls: 21
Steals: 14
Turnovers: 15
Off. Rebounds: 15
Def. Rebounds: 25
Biggest Lead: 34
Biggest run: 11
top scorer for UZBEKISTAN: Aleksandr Kozlov (25 points, 35 Minutes)
top scorer for CHINESE TAIPEI: Tsung-Hsien Chang (22 points, 22 Minutes)
top rebounder for UZBEKISTAN: Ildar Safarov (11 rebounds, 30 Minutes)
top rebounder for CHINESE TAIPEI: Wen-Ting Tseng (6 rebounds, 14 Minutes)
leader in assists for UZBEKISTAN: Aleksandr Kozlov (4 assists, 35 Minutes)
leader in assists for CHINESE TAIPEI: I-Chieh Su (7 assists, 21 Minutes)
Referees: FUJIGAKI Yoji (JPN), EGHO Marwan (LIB), PASCUAL Ferdinand (PHI)
Commissioner: CHAN Jimmy (HKG)


Taiwan NT stats after the prelim round

Surprisingly, 21-year-old Jet Chang led the team with 13.3 points per game. Wu Tai-hao was second with 11.7 points and 5 rebounds.

Tien Lei and Tseng Wen-ting were worrisome for their subpar performance. And while Yang Chin-min was OK, his Taiwan Beer teammate Lin Chih-chieh hasn't found his rhythm in Tianjin yet.

After three preliminary games:

Jet Chang 13.3p, 43.8%FG
Wu Tai-hao 11.7p+5rb, 54.5%FG
Yang Chin-min 11p, 64%FG
Chang Chih-feng 9.3p
Lin Chih-chieh 8p+3.3rb
Lee Hsueh-lin 7.7p+3a, 56.2%FG
Tseng Wen-ting 5.3p+5rb
Tien Lei 4p+4rb, 4-for-18 FG

Taiwan beat Uzbekistan to roll into second round

TIANJIN (FIBA Asia Championship) - Chinese Taipei raced ahead early and the used the remainder of the game to try out their bench, yet blew away Uzbekistan 102-78 to finish their Group B engagements with a win, on Saturday.

Taipei, thus finished 2-1 in their preliminary round and headed into the eight-final round with the win boosting their confidence.

Uzbekistan, playing the Championship after failing to qualify for the last edition, have lost all their three games so far and will play against the fourth placed team of Group A in the 13-16 classification.

Yang Chin-Min provided the early spark for Taipei – with an incredible 67% (4/6), including a 1/3 in three-pointers – scoring nine points in the first quarter as the wild card entrants virtually sealed the issue when they led 23-10 at the end of the first ten minutes.

Taipei played for the clock thenceforth.

Yang Chin-Min was rested for the remainder of the game, but Chang Chih-Feng, Chang Tsung-Hsieh and Wu Tai-Ho took over.

Chang Tsung-Hsieh top scored for Taipei 22 points, with the other Chang contributing 13. Wu had 15.

Aleksandr Kozlov had a game-high 25 points in a losing cause.

Ildar Safarov contributed 14 points.

S Mageshwaran

Analysis: Taiwan no problem making final eight

event_logo.selected Taiwan should have no problem advancing to the quarterfinal round in the FIBA Asia Championship 2009 in Tianjin, but a semifinal appearance would be a stretch, an analyst said in a preview article of -- the event's official Mandarin website.

Taiwan was fortunate to get the wild card invitation from FIBA Asia following Bahrain's withdrawal and barely kept its Asian Championship consecutive appearance record alive, the analyst wrote.

Top players Chen Hsin-an and Yang Yu-min, who played last season with Northeastern Tigers in the Chinese league CBA, both sat out the tournament due to injuries.

21-year-old guard Jet Chang was promoted to the final 12-man roster from the second NT and was a player to watch. Chang is currently playing for NCAA Div-II's BYU-Hawaii and known for his explosiveness and scoring ability.

The analyst said that Taiwan should not be underestimated. It did not play well in the East Asia Basketball Championship because of too many injured players. However, it beat Korea and Iran in the Jones Cup tournament last month, proving that it is capable of competing with Asia's big boys.

The toughest opponent Taiwan would face in the preliminary round will be Iran. Getting past Kuwait and Uzbekistan will not be a problem. Taiwan is expected to face Korea, Japan and Philippines in the second round but it should be able to squeeze into the final eight.

However, the analyst wrote, it will be another story in the knockout quarterfinal round as it will not be easy for Taiwan to beat China, Qatar or Lebanon.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Taiwan vs. Kuwait photos




Taiwan beat Kuwait 73-51

TIANJIN (FIBA Asia Championship) Wild card entrants Chinese Taipei gave defending champions Iran a scare before succumbing to their rivals’ size last night.

But on Friday, against Kuwait, there was no such trouble and the East Asian nation notched up their first win of the Championship cantering through 73-51.

Both the teams are now locked 1-1 in Group B. On Saturday, Kuwait take on Iran and Taipei play against Uzbekistan.

Yang Chin-Min led the Taipei charge with his game-high 24 points.

Yang scored nine points, thrice assisted by Su I-Chieh and helped Su once as Taipei pulled away midway through the first quarter with a 13-0 spree that perched them firmly ahead in the game.

That was the only success Su had in terms of scoring, but he returned a game-high six assists.

Chang Chi-Feng and Lee Hsueh-Lin chipped in with 11 points each.

Kuwait, after beating Uzbekistan last night, can keep their hopes alive despite this defeat unless an upset takes place.

Mohammad Ashkanani was their leading scorer with 13 points.

S Mageshwaran

FIBA Asia Championship 2009 Key Facts


Official Name: FIBA Asia Championship 2009

Sponsors: FIBA Asia

Organizer: Local Organizing Committee (Tianjin) - FIBA Asia Championship 2009

Dates: From August 6 until 16, 2009
• First Round - 06/08 to 08/08
• Second Round – 10/08 to 12/08
• Quarter-finals – 14/08
• Semi-finals – 15/ 08
• Finals - 16/08

The teams who enter the finals and the winner of the play-offs between the losing semifinalists will qualify to the 2010 FIBA World Championship to be played in Turkey.

Venues: Tianjin Gym and Nankai University, Tianjin, China

Trophy: FIBA Asia Champion

Broadcasting: Each TV broadcast is established within the Schedule pages of FIBA Asia’s broadcasting associates.

Participating National Teams:
    * China (hosts)
    * Chinese Taipei
    * India
    * Indonesia
    * I. R. Iran (defending champions)
    * Japan
    * Jordan
    * Kazakhstan
    * Korea
    * Kuwait
    * Lebanon
    * Philippines
    * Qatar
    * Sri Lanka
    * United Arab Emirates
    * Uzbekista

Qualification system for participant teams

The number of participating teams is sixteen (16):

• Hosts China gain an automatic entry
• The Champion from the 2008 FIBA Asia Stankovic Cup – Jordan also gain an automatic entry
• Top five finishers in the 2008 FIBA Asia Stankovic Cup also earn an additional qualifying berth for their respective FIBA Asia sub-zone.
• Two team from each of the five FIBA Asia sub-zones qualify apart from the additional berths earned in the 2008 FIBA Asia Stankovic Cup.

The following was the sub-zone wise break-up of the qualifiers

WABA: Iran, Jordan, Lebanon.
Gulf: Bahrain (withdrew later), Kuwait, Qatar, UAE.
Middle: India, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan.
East: China, Japan, Korea
South East: Indonesia, Philippines.

Note: Chinese Taipei were awarded a wild card entry following Bahrain’s withdrawal.

Competition System

The competition will be played in four rounds.

The sixteen (16) participating teams will be divided into four (4) groups of four (4) teams each. Each team will play all the other teams in its own group. The teams placed 1st – 3rd in each group will qualify for the Eighth Finals Round.

The twelve (12) teams qualified from the Preliminary Round will be divided into two (2) groups of six (6) teams each. Each team will play the three (3) new teams in its own group (the final scores of all games played in the Preliminary Round are valid for this round). The teams placed 1st - 4th in each group will qualify for the Quarter-Finals for 1st - 8th place.

From Quarter-Finals onwards, the competition will be play-offs.

The teams who enter the finals and the winner of the play-offs between the losing semifinalists will automatically qualify to the 2010 FIBA World Championship to be played in Turkey.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

FIBA Asia Championship 2009 quick links

Taiwan NT

Taiwan vs. Iran photos








Scratchy Iran survive Taipei scare

Scratchy Iran survive Taipei scare

TIANJIN (FIBA Asia Championship) - Defending champions Iran were scratchy in their plays and rather scattered in their scoring, yet proved better for an enthusiastic Chinese Taipei in a Group B game on Thursday.

Iran won 71-67.

Taipei playing the Championship, by virtue of a wild card entry did give the Iranians quite a scare more often than not.

But when push came to shove, Iran found their saviors in their mainstays and emerged victors.

Memphis Grizzlies centre Hamed EHadadi took a locker-room break early in the second quarter, but thankfully returned without much to worry for Iran coach Veselin Matic.

“Thankfully, it’s nothing to worry. It was just a small scare on his ankle. He is alright,” Matic said.

EHadadi returned a double-double – scoring 19 points and collecting 11 rebounds

Samad Nikkah Bahrami was solidity and composed to keep the team together when in trouble which helped the defending champions scrape through without any opening nightmares.

Samad led the scoring for the game – with 22 points – pulled down seven rebounds, and effected a game-high 11 assists.

“It was the first game and they (Taipei) have never been an easy side,” Samad said.

“I hope we can improve a lot in the way we play as we get along in the tournament,” he added.

Iran looked comfortable only on those occasions when Samad and EHadadi managed to combine, which was rarer than normal.

Taipei, on the other hand, played within themselves and worked hard at both ends of the floor to keep their much fancied rivals on their toes.

Wu Tai-Ho was the leader of the Taipei cause with 16 points, but his efforts went in vain against a more experienced outfit.

Tien Li contributed 15 points.

“We were outdone by their size. We tried our best with our speed, but that doesn’t work all the time,” Taipei coach Chung Kwak-suk said.

S Mageshwaran

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Preview: Taiwan seeks better position in Asian Championship


Led by Korean head coach Chung Kwang-suk and resurgent star forward Tien Lei, Taiwan NT left for Tianjin Tuesday with one thing in mind: a better finish than the 6th place they had two years ago in the Asian Championship.

Awaiting Taiwan in the opening game will be no other than the defending champion Iran, which is in the same preliminary group with Taiwan, Kuwait and Uzbekistan.

One of the challenges will be the new competition format, which presents a single round-robin second round that would eliminate four of the 12 teams before the knockout quarterfinal round.

With top three team from four preliminary groups would advance to the second round, the second round brackets look like this:

Group E:  A1, A2, A3, B1, B2, B3
Group F: C1, C2, C3, D1, D2, D3

In the second round, each team will play the three new teams in its own group (the final scores of all games played in the Preliminary Round are valid for this round.

Taiwan should have no problem passing the first round. The second round will be a critical stage, however.

Barring a major upset, Taiwan will be in the same second round group with Japan, Korea and the Philippines -- along with Iran and either Uzbekistan or Kuwait.

To make it to the quarterfinal, Taiwan has to beat at least one team among Japan, Korea and the Philippines. It will not be an easy task.

C988045SSure. Taiwan beat all three teams in the Jones Cup. Heck, Taiwan even defeated Iran. But keep in mind that Iran was without 7-2 center Hamed Hadadi and Korea was without 7-3 center Ha Seung-jin while Philippines was not at its best in the Jones Cup.

Chung Kwang-suk has made it clear that Taiwan will try to take down either Japan or the Philippines. However, it will be a totally different scenario in Tianjin, China.

The first goal will be making the quarterfinal, Chung said. He added that the second goal would be a better finish than what they did two years ago (6th place).

There are good news though. Taiwan is still without top gun Chen Hsin-an, who has been plagued by his knee injury in recent years. But Tien Lei looks like his old self again after sitting out a full year to nurse the stress fracture in his legs.

"One thing is sure. We're a lot healthier and more prepared than two years ago, " said team captain Yang Che-yi, who at 31 years-old is the oldest player on the team.

Replacing Chen Hsin-an's firepower will be SBL MVP Chang Chih-feng, who played well in the Jones Cup, head coach Chung Kwang-suk said. Chang has been recognized as one of the most hard-working players in Taiwan. It's probably his turn to shine on the big stage.

The key to the tournament will be rebounding and defense, Chung said. In other words, 204cm centers Tseng Wen-ting and Wu Tai-hao will once again play important roles. They have to be aggressive on both ends of the floor to make sure Taiwan would not rely on perimeter shooting too much.

In the mean time, they also have to play smart and avoid foul trouble so they can contribute on the court. A resurgent Tien Lei will be a big help if he can help out on defense and rebound.

The Taiwan Beer tandem of Lin Chih-chieh and Yang Chin-min have a lot to prove. Both of them can score big in SBL games and are among the most popular basketball players in Taiwan. But they have yet to prove themselves in international competitions. Taiwan NT will need their timely baskets and defense on the wing.

Top three teams in the 2009 Asian Championship will earn berths in the 2010 World Championship.

Final Taiwan NT roster for 2009 Asian Championship

Po., Name, Ht., Age
G Lee Hsueh-lin, Yulon, 175cm, 25
G Su Yi-chieh, Dacin, 181cm, 22
G Yang Ching-min, TB, 188cm, 25
G Chang Chih-feng, Dacin, 183cm, 28
G Chang Tsung-hsien, BYU-Hawaii, 190cm, 21
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