Monday, September 28, 2009

Japanese, Taiwanese hoops situations similar

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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)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Chennai 2009 - Taiwan enters semifinals

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CHENNAI (23rd FIBA Asia Women Championship) - Chinese Taipei played the ‘Catch me if you can’ to almost perfection and Thailand fell short of catching Taipei in the crucial junctures of the pivotal Level I game on Tuesday.

Taipei, a semifinalist at the last edition at Incheon ensured there was no dent in the East Asian monopoly of the last four, winning the game 76-66.

“It was a lot tougher than what we expected,” said Chinese Taipei coach Lin Hung Ling-Yao.

“We also had to preserve the players for the semifinals,” she added.

“Our preparations coming into the championship, especially in terms of the conditioning of the players is not great,” Lin Hung said.

“There was no point in outstretching ourselves,” she added.

Taipei broke away from the equally sparring Thais early in the second half and never looked back.

Lin Hung used 11 of her players and 10 of them scored.

Liu Chun-yi led the scoring with 16 points, and seven rebounds.

Lan Jui-yu scored 11, nine of them in the second half, as the others shared the task of scoring equally.

Juthamas Jantakan scored a game-high 22 points, and collected seven rebounds, for Thailand but unfortunately in a losing cause.

In the semifinals on Wednedsay, Chinese Taipei will play against the Level I toppers, which will be known after the China-Korea game tonight.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Chennai 2009 - Taiwan routed by China

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CHENNAI (23rd FIBA Asia Women Championship) - China’s coach Sun Fengwu was hampered by the forced absence of Guan Xin for the game against Chinese Taipei.

But that only hampered the champion outfit to take a little longer than normal to get into wonted rhythm.

Taipei, a semifinalist at Incheon two years ago, capitalized on that slow start and raced ahead 17-15 at the end of the first quarter.

But China, who meanwhile had found the means and the players to compensate for Guan Xin’s absence – caused by a upset stomach, from which she is unlikely to recover in time for the game against Korea tomorrow – came into their own in the second and there was no further problems.

China took control of the game early in the second quarter and grew in strength for an 82-54 win.

The win perched China on top of the leader-board along with Korea.

Chinese Taipei suffered their third loss in four games and will take on Thailand – who also have a similar record – in a virtual play-off for a place in the semifinals.

Ma Zhengyu scored seven of her team-high 13 points and Liu Dan six of her 10 in the second quarter to help China seize command.

Nan Chen and Chen Xiaoli each scored 12 points.

Lan Jui-yu’s game-high 22 was the highest for Taipei, but 15 of them came in the first half.

Liu Chun-yi scored 14 points.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Chennai 2009 - Korea too hot for Taiwan to handle

CHENNAI (23rd FIBA Asia Women Championship) - Jung Sunmin uncorked a vintage performance and defending champions Korea needed little more to beat Chinese Taipei 96-55 in a Level I game on Saturday.

Korea have thus won all their three games, but Taipei kept their hopes of a semifinals alive thanks to their 1-2 record and two other teams carrying a 0-3 record.

Jung Sunmin’s showing tonight was a lesson in action.

The 34-year-old enhanced her credentials as one of more all-round players on show falling just short of what would have been the first triple-double of the Championship.

The Shinhan Bank S-Birds superstar scored 15 points, effected 10 assists and collected seven rebounds.

What her statistics would have read had coach Lim Dal Shik not rested her for the entire fourth quarter!

“It doesn’t matter,” Jung Sunmin shrugged.

“What matters most is that it helped the team to win,” she added.

“They are not an easy team at all. We had to keep the pressure right through,” Jung Sunmin said.

Park Jung-eun was the top scorer for Korea with 17 points and Kim Kwe-ryong had an incredible 100% record for her 16 points.

Kim Kwe-ryong shot a 7/7 in field attempts and converted both the free-throws.

Lin Chi-wen was the highest scorer for Chinese Taipei with 12 points.


Taiwan women's NT 12-man roster for Chennai 2009

Taiwan women's NT 12-man roster for Chennai 2009

#     Name         P     Height     DOB
4     Fan-Shan HUANG     G     174cm     29/09/1987
5     Shih-Chieh CHANG     G     172cm     16/03/1986
6     Yu-Chun CHEN     F     176cm     07/03/1987
7     Jui-Yu LAN     G       171cm     02/08/1983
8     Chi-Wen LIN     C     186cm     19/08/1983
9     Yung-HsuCHU     F     185cm     08/01/1981
10     Wan-Ting LI     PF/C     180cm     23/12/1986
11     Hui-Yun CHENG     C     186cm     23/04/1977
12     Hui-Mei LIN     G/F     178cm     11/12/1981
13     Yi-Hung MA     G     176cm     27/11/1980
14     Ning CHANG     C    186cm     16/10/1987
15     Chun-Yi LIU     F    180cm     23/01/1981

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Lin Chih-chieh heads for China


One day after CTBA cleared the way for Taiwanese players, Taiwan Beer announced that Lin Chih-chieh will go to China for a tryout with two CBA teams next week, local media reported.

Lin, accompanied by TB head coach Yen Chia-hua and marketing director Chen Jian-chou, will participate in tryouts for Shanghai and Zhejiang. The group is scheduled to leave for China next Monday and be back to Taiwan next Thursday.

Playing time will be the crucial factor of Lin's signing, Yen said, since every player wants to play.

According to Yen, Lin Chih-chieh will definitely spend his next season in China and Taiwan Beer will sign a pair of veterans -- Wu Chia-lung and Shin Jin-jan -- to fill Lin's void on the wing.

Chennai 2009 - Taiwan women beat India for 1st win


CHENNAI (23rd FIBA Asia Women Championship) - Chinese Taipei took almost the entire first quarter of their Friday’s Level I game against hosts India to grasp the pace and tempo of the game.

But once they did, towards the end of the first quarter when Lan Jui-yu scored on the paint to level the scores there was no stopping the 2005 FIBA Asia Women Championship bronze medalists.

Taipei won 84-61 to negate the loss they suffered against Japan on the opening night, leaving India with a bruising defeat for the second day running.

“It was too slow for us,” said Taipei coach Lin Hung Ling-Yao.

“We did take a little too long to get our tempo going. And fortunately it happened sooner than later,” she said.

In that time, Geethu Anna Jose did all the scoring after Prashanti Singh had opened the scoring for the game. And India effected a 10-0 run to move ahead 12-5.

Jose went on to account for more than half her team’s score – a tournament-high 34 points – but her effort was rather lonely, and therefore went in a losing cause.

Jose had a fantastic 79 % (11/14) record in field attempts.

Lan Jui-yu sparked off the Taipei fightback.

Coming in for Lin Chi-wen with less than five minutes left in the first quarter, the 26-year-old reeled in nine of her 15 points of the game capping with that score-levelling attempt.

Chang Shih-chieh and Li Wan-ting, meanwhile found their bearings and Taipei didn’t have to worry too much.

Chang Shih-chieh scored eight of her 15 points and Li Wan-ting nine of her 14 for the game in the second quarter as Taipei left nothing to chance.

“Any win is a good win. And if it comes after a little struggle it means it has ironed out any problems in our approach,” Lin Hung said.

“I think we played well too,” Indian coach JP Singh said.

“But when you play such tough and experienced opponents, you don’t analyse on win or loss lines,” he added.



CTBA OKs Taiwan players' signings with Chinese teams

Chinese Taipei Basketball Association decided that Taiwanese players are free to sign with Chinese teams after an executive committee meeting yesterday.

The decision means that the 24-man list CTBA announced last June, which prohibited current NT members to play in China, is no longer valid. It also means Taiwan Beer forward Lin Chih-chieh could play in China next season.

Local media reported that Lin could sign with either Zhejiang or Shanghai with a maximum monthly salary of US$20,000.

Lin will not be the first Taiwanese player to play in China, obviously, since several players have seen action in the Chinese league including Yen Hsin-shu, Yang Yu-min and others. However, no Taiwanese stars have entered the CBA since Cheng Chih-lung, who played for Shanghai in 2000, and SINA Lions, which played in the CBA from 2002-03.

The decision came one year after CTBA's rejected Chen Hsin-an's application to play in China and came up with the notorious 24-man protection list.

Players who intend to play in China will have to get the letter of clearance from his original team before submitting applications to the CTBA, which will contact Chinese basketball authority to complete the transfer process.

Accepting Chinese players was also mentioned in the executive committee meeting. Participants of the meeting generally welcomed the idea but said that political issue could be involved.

In terms of other SBL issue, several team representatives talked about banning import players and canceling the draft next season. However, it was not a done deal yet.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Chennai 2009 - Taiwan opens with loss to Japan


CHENNAI (23rd FIBA Asia Women Championship) - Japan played solidly in the closing moments and defeated a familiar, but fierce, Chinese Taipei 73-65 in a pivotal Level I game on Thursday.

Yuko Oga played all the 40 minutes of the game and obviously was the decisive force for the Japanese, who are here on a quest to retain at least their bronze medal – and regain their chance to represent FIBA Asia in the 2010 FIBA World Championship.

“It was our first game and we were probably facing the toughest opponent in the opener,” said Fumikazu Nakagawa.

“That was the reason for us to play Yuko without a break. Also they (Chinese Taipei) were always pecking on our heels,” he added.

Ryoko Utsumi – one of Oga’s teammates at Incheon two year ago – sparkled with in her attempts on the paint.

Utsumi fired in all her five two-pointer attempts, and converted three of the five three-pointers, to tally a 21-point game.

Chinese Taipei did rather well, as they always have against Japan, but failed at the crucial junctures.

“It happens,” said Chinese Taipei coach Lin Hung Ling-Yao.

“When the two teams know each other so well, and are equally equipped it always boils down to a couple of shots,” the veteran coach said.

Li Wan-Ting and Liu Chun-yi shared the scoring honours for Taipei with 12 points each.



Introduction to 2009 FIBA Asia Women Championship 

The 23rd FIBA Asia Women Championship will feature 12 teams – divided into two levels.

The top three teams from Level I will book their ticket to the 2010 FIBA World Championship for Women scheduled to be held in Czech Republic from Sept 23 to Oct 3, 2010.

This will be the first time India will host the FIBA Asia Women Championship.

Korea hold the record for the maximum number of appearances – having participated in all the 22 Championships so far.

Korea have also won a medal in all the 22 Championships winning the gold medal a staggering 12 times, the latest being at the 22nd FIBA Asia Women Championship when they hosted the event in Incheon in 2007.

Asian basketball powerhouse China have won nine gold medals in 17 appearances followed by Japan with 18 medals – including one gold – in 21 appearances.

Chinese Taipei complete the East Asian dominance in the FIBA Asia Women Championship, with nine medals in 17 appearances.

In fact, starting from the 1986 edition of the Championship the foursome have finished in the top four in all the Championships.

Thailand are the only country to have won a medal apart from these four countries.

China, Korea and Chinese Taipei were the three teams to represent FIBA Asia in the 2006 FIBA World Championship for women in Brazil.

Wikipedia link

Friday, September 04, 2009

Chinese teams target on Tien Lei

At least two teams in the Chinese league CBA have targeted Taiwan forward Tien Lei and reportedly offer a minimum monthly wage of US$20,000 (approximately NT$660,000), Liberty Times reported Friday.

It is the second time in this past month that Chinese team are targeting Taiwanese players following a recruiting offer for Taiwan Beer forward Lin Chih-chieh, who was offered to play in China for US$10,000 per month.

Tien Lei's father confirmed the offer, which Tien Lei said is too tempting to turn down. "I don't think anyone who's been approached (to play in China) would say no, " Tien was quoted by the Liberty Times as saying.

According to Liberty Times, a number of team representatives contacted Tien Lei during the Asian Championship in Tianjin, where Tien averaged 10.8 points and 5.8 rebounds and helped Taiwan to a 5th place finish.

In addition to the monthly salary offer, Chinese representatives also promised to deal with Tien Lei's buyout clause with Dacin Tigers, one of seven teams in the Taiwanese league SBL.

However, Tien, Lin or anyone else will not be able to play overseas before the CTBA (Chinese Taipei Basketball Association) makes clear its policy.

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 Tien, Lin, Chen Hsin-an, Tseng Wen-ting and Wu Tai-hao. Protected players were prohibited to play overseas within 12 months.

CTBA deputy secretary-general Wang Jen-sheng told the media the protection period has expired, which means it's possible for Taiwanese players to sign with Chinese teams in the second half of year 2009.

Dacin manager Wang Tsai-hsiang, son of Dacin owner and CTBA president Wang Jen-da, said that Xinjiang Flying Tigers expressed interests in signing the 6-7 lanky forward two years ago. Dacin and Tien eventually turned down the offer because Tien was rehabbing at the time.

"In fact Tien's salaries in China and Taiwan are about the same because Dacin players received a guaranteed 14-month annual salary plus the bonuses , while Chinese teams only pay their players during the 4-month season, " Wang explained, saying that Tien Lei is expected to earn around NT$ 2.58 million in Taiwan and NT$ 2.64 million in China.

Wang Jen-da has called a CTBA meeting on September 17 to make a final decision about the matter, LT reported. The LT reporter wrote that the exodus looks like imminent if CTBA fails to establish a plan which focuses on SBL's long-term development.