Sunday, January 31, 2010

Yang Yu-ming shoots down Dacin

金酒尚恩 Shawn Hawkins

Yang Yu-ming had 26 points and made crucial three-point shots time and again and Yang Ching-min added 28 points as Taiwan Beer beat Dacin 93-85 in overtime, snapping Dacin's five-game winning streak.

Dacin trailed most of the game but managed to always stayed behind. Tien Lei had a game-tying three, his first basket since the first quarter, with 0.1 seconds to go in regulation. Taiwan Beer opened the overtime with two quick three-pointers to fend off Dacin's rally.

In other games, KKL staged a furious comeback in a thrilling 88-83 overtime victory over Taiwan Mobile, outscoring TM 39-23 in the fourth quarter and overtime. Shawn Hawkins had 31 points and 10 rebounds.

Pure Youth routed BOT to snap its three-game losing streak.

Jan. 30 results:

KKL 88-83(OT) TM
KKL: S. Hawkins 31p+10rb, Cheng Jen-wei 14p+7rb, Hsiao Yuan-chang 11p+5rb, Chen Ching-huan 11p+9rb
TM: A. Grant 17p+12rb, Liu Sheng-yao 23p, Wu Yung-jen 13p+4a+3s

PY 103-83 BOT
PY: J. Sanders 26p+15rb, Zuo Tsun-kai 13p, Chen Shih-chieh 11p
BOT: J. Jones 20p+15rb, Doug Creighton 22p, Chen Shun-hsiang 10p

TB 93-85(OT) Dacin
TB: Yang Yu-ming 26p(5-9 3PT), Yang Ching-min 28p
Dacin: Chang Chih-feng 26p+10rb, Tien Lei 15p+6rb, B. Allen 14p+14rb, Lin Yi-hui 13p

Dacin 6-2
KKL 5-2
Yulon 4-3
TB 4-3
PY 4-4
TM 2-5
BOT 1-7

Jon Sanders(L) and Jeff Jones


Dacin's Byron Allen(R) has something to say to TB's Delvin Thomas

(Photos: ESPN Taiwan)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Jan. 29 BOT upset Yulon video

U.S. newcomers adapt to SBL's 'guard-driven' game

DSC06924 DSC06917

Taipei, Jan. 30 (CNA) U.S. basketball players Shawn Hawkins and Jeff Jones are rarities, two of only six foreign players performing in Taiwan's professional Super Basketball League (SBL) this year.

Though the two newcomers have had to alter their styles to the local game, they both say they're happy to be playing here, have the chance to explore a different culture, and showcase their talent to take their teams to the next level.

To improve its competitive level, the seven-team SBL decided for the first time this year to allow all of its teams to hire foreign players rather than limit the option to non-playoff teams, as had been the case in the past.

That was what brought Hawkins and Jones to Taiwan in January and why the 2010 SBL season has been billed as "a battle of foreign players." The expectations have so far panned out. Hawkins is averaging a league-best 22.7 points and 9.3 rebounds while Jones is currently leading the league with 13.3 rebounds per game, and his 19.3 points per game ranks fourth.

With Hawkins' help, Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor (KKL) has opened the season with a 4-2 record and is the league's most improved team.

Before coming to Taiwan, Hawkins was mostly known as the grandson of former National Basketball Association (NBA) great Connie Hawkins, a New York City playground legend who played in the NBA and American Basketball Association from 1961 to 1976.

Hawkins says he is used to people talking about his grandfather, but he is now happy to know that he can also be his own man and show the fans what he can do.

Jones landed in Taiwan through the power of the Internet. Doug Creighton, Jones' teammate at Bank of Taiwan (BOT), was assigned to find another foreign player for the team because of his U.S.

background, and he found Jones' contact information on a basketball Web site and sent him an e-mail to initiate the deal.

The 203-centimeter forward has only appeared in three games so far this season because of an extended delay in getting a work permit, but it was worth the wait.

Jones had 20 points and 20 rebounds Saturday in leading BOT to an upset win over powerhouse Yulon Luxgen and helping snap the team's six-game losing streak.

Both players have been forced to play different positions in Taiwan than they were accustomed to in the United States because of the generally shorter Asian players.

That means Hawkins, a shooting guard in the U.S., is playing forward, and Jones, a natural small forward, has to play all three frontcourt positions.

The SBL, like other Asian leagues, features a more fast-paced game, observes Hawkins, who also has played in South Korea. Jones agrees, saying that the league is more of a guard-based game focused on jump shots and three-pointers rather than driving and dunking.

Before arriving in Taiwan, neither of the two players knew much about the country, and the newcomers have not had the time or opportunity to explore Taipei or the island because of tight game schedules and pressure to turn the team around immediately.

But they've taken to Taiwan's fans, Hawkins says, "because they support you whether you're winning or losing." The group of six U.S. players have a unique relationship -- they are rivals on the court and friends off it, hanging out to soothe their homesickness.

Besides Jones and Hawkins, only Taiwan Mobile's Antonio Grant is new to the league, while the other three are familiar with Taiwan.

Byron Allen helped Dacin Tigers to its first championship in history last season and re-signed with the team. Jonathan Sanders became the first import to play for three Taiwanese teams when he signed with Pure Youth Construction, and Taiwan Beer's Delvin Thomas also returned with a different team.

"We were always taught in the States to leave everything on the basketball court. Once the buzzer starts, we're enemies. But once that buzzer's over, we can smile and hang out, " Jones said.

Jones' 20-20 helps BOT grab first win

台銀瓊斯(中) Jeff Jones

Jeff Jones had 20 points and 20 rebounds as Bank of Taiwan upset Yulon 93-82 Friday to grab its first win of the season after losing forward Hsu Chih-chang for the season.

A MRI report confirmed that Hsu blew his right knee ACL last week and will have to sit out the season.

BOT, the only winless team entering this week, had its best game of the season. Jones dished out five assists and shooter Chen Shun-hsiang was 6 of 8 from three and had his season-high 23 points.

Byron Allen had 24 points and 15 boards to lead Dacin to a 88-78 win over Pure Youth, its fifth straight win. PY lost three consecutive.

BOT 93-82 Yulon
BOT: J. Jones 20p+20rb+5a, Chen Shun-hsiang 23p(6-8 3PT), Sun Huan-po 18p, Chuang Hsiao-wen 12p
Yulon: Chen Chih-chun 25p, Tseng Wen-ting 14p+14rb+5a, Lee Chi-yi 14p+8rb, Chou Shih-yuan 10p, Yang Che-yi 10p

Dacin 88-78 PY
Dacin: B. Allen 24p+15rb, Tien Lei 10p+8rb, Su Yi-chieh 14p+6a, Chang Chih-feng 11p, Lin Yi-hui 11p
PY: Tsai Wen-cheng 16p+8rb, Chang Yu-lin 14p, J. Sanders 8p+6rb

Dacin 6-1, KKL 4-2, Yulon 4-3, TB 3-3, PY 3-4, TM 2-4, BOT 1-6

Chen Shun-hsiang

Tseng Wen-ting and Jones

Byron Allen

(Photos: ESPN Taiwan)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Former Cathay Life player Chiang joins Chunghwa Telecom


Chiang Feng-chun, one of the best players in Taiwan and widely seen as one of the best forwards in Asia, came out of retirement and joined Chunghwa Telecom, it was reported.

Chiang surprisingly announced her retirement last February at a young age of 28. One year later, she caught everyone by surprise again by joining Chunghwa Telecom and is ready to play in the upcoming WSBL season to go up against her former team Cathay Life, which has won 17 straight Taiwan women's league titles.

This is a controversial move, however, as Taiwan's women's teams have an unwritten -- and bizarre -- rule of not accepting players from other teams. Cathay Life is expected to protest against Chiang's return.

Traditionally, Taiwanese women's teams start paying players from when they're in junior high schools all the way to universities, which means almost all those players will attend the same junior high, high schools and colleges.

Since the teams invested millions of dollars on these players, they are "owned" by the teams. Their contracts are supposedly life-long contracts, at least that's what the teams think.

Ironically, every team still tried to recruit players or retired players like Chiang from other teams and controversies rose every other years.

Since 2005, teams had reached an unwritten consensus that players have to wait two years before signing with another team. Cathay Life claimed Chiang had violated the consensus.


Chiang is practicing with Chunghwa Telecom

(Photos: China Times, Apple Daily)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Week 3 MVP: Chang Chih-feng


Reigning SBL Finals MVP Chang Chih-feng was named Week 3 MVP Tuesday for leading Dacin Tigers to two wins last week with several crucial three-pointers.

Chang averaged 13.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals and received 26 points in the media poll, beating out Shawn Hawkins (21 points), Byron Allen (20 points) and Tien Lei (16 points).

2010 SBL Weekly MVPs

Week 3: Chang Chih-feng, Dacin
Week 2: Tseng Wen-ting, Yulon
Week 1: Jonathan Sanders, Pure Youth

(Photo: ESPN Taiwan)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Jan. 25 SBL results

金酒鄭人維 Cheng Jen-wei, KKL

Dacin 83-74 KKL
Dacin: B.Allen 18p+10rb, Tien Lei 13p+8rb+4a, Chang Chih-fung 13p, Su Yi-chieh 13p
KKL: Cheng jen-wei 31p+7rb, S. Hawkins 20p+9rb, Chen Ching-huan 10p+14rb

TB 89-78 BOT
TB: Yang Ching-min 19p, Wu Tai-hao 16p, D. Thomas 14p+8rb, Yang Yu-min 15p
BOT: J. Jones 26p+11rb, Chen Shun-hsiang 16p

TM 75-72 PY
TM: Liu Sheng-yao 19p, A. Grant 15p+12rb, Teng An-cheng 14p
PY: J. Sanders 18p+18rb, Hung Chih-shan 14p, James Mao 11p+7rb, Chien Chia-hung 11p

Dacin 5-1
Yulon 4-2
KKL 4-2
PY 3-3
TB 3-3
TM 2-4
BOT 0-6

Byron Allen, Dacin

Antonio Grant, TM

Wu Tai-hao (L) and Ho Shou-cheng, TB

Jeff Jones, BOT

Yang Ching-min, TB

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Dacin, KKL share lead at the top

Shawn Hawkins (left) vs. PY's James Mao (right)

Dacin's defense and a foul trouble limited Yulon center Tseng Wen-ting to two points as Dacin beat Yulon 67-62 in a low-scoring game to tie with KKL, which edged PY 79-74 Saturday, at 4-1.

KKL, powered by another brilliant performance by Shawn Hawkins, demonstrated their poise down the stretch. Hung Chi-chao drove in for a layup with 30 seconds remaining to increase KKL's lead to three points and Lin Chih-lung followed with a fastbreak layup with 4.8 seconds left.

Pure Youth cut the deficit down to one with a minute left but failed to score thereafter. It dropped to 3-2 after the loss despite Jon Sanders' 22 points and 11 rebounds.

Dacin 67-62 Yulon
Dacin: Tien Lei 17p+10rb, B. Allen 11p+10rb, Chang Chih-feng 14p, Lin Yi-hui 14p
Yulon: Chen Chih-chun 24p, Lu Cheng-ju 10p

KKL 79-74 PY
KKL: S. Hawkins 28p+18rb, Lin Chih-lung 12p
PY: J. Sanders 22p+11rb, James Mao 18p+10rb

TB 71-67 TM
TB: Yang Ching-min 15p+8rb, Yang Yu-ming 14p, Chen Shih-nian 15p
TM: Yen Cheng-hung 15p, Wu Yung-jen 15p, Teng An-cheng 12p+7rb

Shawn Hawkins, KKL

TB's Wu Tai-hao (right) and TM's Yen Cheng-hung (left)

Yang Yu-ming, TB

(Photos: ESPN Taiwan)

SBL Stats (Jan. 23)

1. Jon Sanders, PY 23.2
1. Shawn Hawkins, KKL 23.2
3. Ouyang Ching-heng, TM 21.5
4. Tseng Wen-ting, Yulon 16.7
5. Cheng Jen-wei, KKL 16.6
6. Tien Lei, Dacin 16.4
7. Yang Ching-min, TB 15.4
8. Tsai Wen-cheng, PY 14.6
9. Sun Huan-po, BOT 14.2
10. Chang Chih-feng, Dacin 14.0
11. James Mao, PY 13.4
12. Hsu Chih-chang, BOT 13.4
13. Chen Shun-hsiang, BOT 13.2
14. Chou Shih-yuan, Yulon 12.2
15. Jeff Jones, BOT 12.0
16. Chen Chih-chun, Yulon 11.5
17. Delvin Thomas, TB 11.0
18. Byron Allen, Dacin 10.8
19. Chen Ching-huan, KKL 10.8
20. Wu Yung-jen, TM 10.4

1. Jon Sanders, PY 13.2
2. Tseng Wen-ting, Yulon 11.2
3. Tien Lei, Dacin 10.0
4. Shawn Hawkins, KKL 9.4
5. Delvin Thomas, TB 9.0
6. Cheng Jen-wei, KKL 8.6
7. Byron Allen, Dacin 7.8
8. James Mao, PY 7.2
9. Antonio Grant, TM 6.8
10. Wu Tai-hao, TB 6.0
10. Chang Chih-feng, Dacin 6.0

1. Jon Sanders, PY 5.0
2. Tien Lei, Dacin 4.0
3. Sun Huan-po, BOT 3.6
4. Tseng Wen-ting, Yulon 3.5
5. Chen Shih-nian, TB 3.4

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Jeff Jones' nightmarish debut

Jeff Jones (Source: ESPN Taiwan)

Bank of Taiwan import Jeff Jones made his long-awaited debut in the Taiwanese league Friday. But it was probably a debut performance he had in mind. Jones made only 4 of 14 free-throws as BOT was routed by KKL 86-63 and is still without a win.

BOT suffered abother blow when PF Hsu Chih-chang sprained his right knee the first quarter. hsu left the game and did not return.

KKL 86-63 BOT
KKL: S. Hawkins 20p+9rb, Cheng Jen-wei 20p+12rb, Chen Ching-huan 11p+7rb
BOT: J. Jones 12p+9rb, Chen Yu-chi 13p

Yulon 70-64 TM
Yulon: Tseng Wen-ting 11p+16rb+5a+4s+5blk, Yang Che-yi 19p, Chou Shih-yuan 18p
TM: Chang Yi-ming 17p, A. Grant 10p+12rb

Yulon 4-1, PY 3-1, KKL 3-1, Dacin 3-1, TM 1-3, TB 1-3, BOT 0-5

Hsu Chih-chang, BOT


Tseng Wen-ting drives past Antonio Grant

(Photos: Liberty Times)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Week 2 MVP: Tseng Wen-ting

Yulon center Tseng Wen-ting was named Week 2 MVP after leading Luxgen to victories over Bank of Taiwan and Taiwan Beer in the past week.

Tseng played the full 80 minutes in two games, averaging 23 points, 11 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 3 steals and 4 blocks per game.

Yulon (3 wins and 1 loss) is tied with Pure Youth and Dacin at No. 1.

(Photo: ESPN Taiwan)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Hawkins exploded for 38 points


Shawn Hawkins exploded for 38 points, making 8 of 10 threes and 14 of 22 from the field, and led KKL to a 92-77 win over Taiwan Mobile on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Dacin forward Tien Lei registered SBL's second triple-double of local players in the 83-65 rout of Bank of Taiwan, the only winless team in the league after two weeks of action.

Tien had 18 points, 14 boards and 11 assists for his first career triple-double. Tien's teammate Wang Chih-chung became the first Taiwanese player to have a triple-double when he tallied 19 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists in a game vs. Sina Lions during the 2004-05 season.

Taiwan Beer head coach Yen Chia-hua said after the team lost to Pure Youth and dropped to 1-3 that TB could choose not to sign any import for the season if Delvin Thomas is not kept eventually.

Antonio Grant had 8 points and 8 rebounds for TM in 18 minutes. So far Grant has not received too much playing time, coming off the bench in both games.

Dacin 83-65 BOT
Dacin: Tien Lei 18p+14rb+11a, B. Allen 13p+7rb+3blk
BOT: Chen Shun-hsiang 19p, Sun Huan-po 15p, Hsu Chih-chang 15p

PY 89-81 TB
PY: Jon Sanders 27p+8rb+6a+3s, Tsai Wen-cheng 22p+8rb, Chien Chia-hung 13p, Zuo Tsun-kai 11p
TB: Yang Ching-min 20p+6rb, D. Thomas 16p+7rb, Wu Tai-hao 14p

KKL 92-77 TM
KKL: S. Hawkins 38p+10rb (14-22 FG, 8-10 3PT), Cheng Jen-wei 23p+10rb, Kao Tien-lin 11p+8a
TM: Liu Sheng-yao 16p, Chen Yao-ting 13p, Chen Huei 11p+5rb+4a, Wu Yung-jen 11p

Yulon 3-1
PY 3-1
Dacin 3-1
KKL 2-1
TM 1-2
TB 1-3
BOT 0-4

(photo: ESPN Taiwan)

Sanders' triple-double smashes Bank of Taiwan


Jonathan Sanders had 17 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists, his second triple-double in the league, as Pure Youth beat Bank of Taiwan 86-81 Saturday.

Sanders also had 5 steals and three blocks in the game. The 6-6 forward registered his first triple-double -- 17 points, 16 rebounds and 17 assists -- on Dec. 23, 2007, when he played for dmedia Numens. The 17-assists effort still ranks as the SBL's all-time single-game assist record.

BOT import Jeff Jones is still waiting for his working permission. He did not play.

台啤湯瑪士(左)裕隆曾文鼎(右)Yulon center Tseng Wen-ting also enjoyed a good day, tallying 18 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, five steals and four blocks, in Luxgen's 69-63 win over Longtime rival Taiwan Beer.

Yulon head coach Zhang Xue-lei was quoted as saying the team was almost certain that it would not hire any import this season.

From what I've seen and heard, Taiwan Beer was not happy with its import Delvin Thomas and Thomas could be replaced. And why was TB head coach Yen Chia-hua not happy? Because they were not winning.

However, the key for TB is that it needs a good point guard badly to organize the erratic offense. And Chen Shih-nian is not the answer. TB probably misses PG Hsu Hao-cheng more than Lin Chih-chieh, both of whom are playing in China this year. Secondly, TB's defense has a lot of room for improvement, and Wu Tai-hao needs to pick up his intensity. It seemed to me that the local players decided to leave the defense to Thomas.

The problem with most Taiwanese teams are whenever they lost, the blame fall on the import players because they get better pay and they are supposed to be responsible.

達欣艾倫(左)台灣大歐陽進恆(右) Dacin used a 12-0 closing run in the last four minutes to beat Taiwan Mobile 64-62. Dacin center Byron Allen scored 9 of his 11 points in the final period. Wang Chih-chun made a three-pointer with 62 seconds left helped Dacin pull ahead.

Taiwan Mobile import Antonio Grant made his debut in Taiwan, scoring 15 points in 17 minutes as a substitute. Grant said he needed some time to made adjustment to the new team and style of play.

PY 86-81 BOT
PY: Sanders 17p+15rb+10a+5s+3blk, Tsai Wen-cheng 28p
BOT: Sun Huan-po 23p+6rb+8a+2s, Chen Shun-hsiang 20p, Hsu Chih-chang 19p

Yulon 69-63 TB
Yulon: Tseng Wen-ting 18p+13rb+3a+5s+4blk, Lee Hsueh-lin 17p
TB: Yang Ching-min 18p, Wu Tai-hao 12p+8rb, Yang Yu-ming 11p, D. Thomas 7p+9rb

Dacin 64-62 TM
Dacin: Tien Lei 17p+12rb, Chang Chih-feng 13p, Yueh Ying-li 10+6rb, B. Allen 11p+5rb
TM: A. Grant 15p, Ouyang Ching-heng 12p

Yulon 3-1
PY 2-1
Dacin 2-1
KKL 1-1
TM 1-1
TB 1-2
BOT 0-3

(Photos: ESPN Taiwan)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

TB routs KKL

裕隆呂政儒(左)台銀吳俊雄(右) (Source: ESPN Taiwan)

Taiwan Beer routed KKL 79-57 as KKL import Shawn Hawkins fouled out in 13 minutes (6p+1rb) while TB center Delvin Thomas had 16 points and 11 rebounds for a double-double.

BOT import Jeff Jones has not obtained his working permission and did not play Friday.

TB 79-57 KKL
TB: Chen Shih-nian 17p, D. Thomas 16+11
KKL: Chen Ching-huan 16p, Cheng Jen-wei 13p+9rb

Yulon 80-68 BOT
Yulon: Tseng Wen-ting 28p+9rb+4a, Chou Shih-yuan 15p, Lu Cheng-ju 15p
BOT: Hsu Chih-chang 18p, Sun Huan-po 11p, Chang Po-sheng 13p


TM 1-0
Yulon 2-1
Dacin 1-1
TB 1-1
PY 1-1
KKL 1-1
BOT 0-2

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sanders named Week 1 MVP

Pure Youth forward Jonathan Sanders was named Week 1 MVP of the 2010 SBL season after averaging 25 points, 16 rebounds and 4 assists in two games.

Sanders beat out Yulon center Tseng Wen-ting 29-28 in the voting.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Antonio Grant ready to play for TM

SN01_010 Grant_Antonio
(Antonio Grant)

Local media reported that Taiwan Mobile has signed 6-6 forward Antonio Grant, who has arrived in Taiwan and is ready to play once his working permission is approved.

Grant (198cm, 104kg, 1976/02/02), 33, came from the University of South Carolina and played in Croatia, Ukraine and France last season.

Jeff Jones will join Bank of Taiwan next week, it was reported.

The arrival of Jones and Grant means Yulon is currently the only team without an import. Yulon said it will not sign foreign players before early February.

(Photo: Apple Daily,

Hawkins, Sanders led the way

SN01_002 SN01_007

In a season widely seen as one which will be dominated by foreign players, Shawn Hawkins and Jon Sanders are starting to make the prediction come true.

Hawkins had 24 points and 9 rebounds in his debut and led KKL to a 80-77 win over Yulon Sunday while Jon Sanders tallied 30 points and 10 boards in Pure Youth's 96-79 rout of defending champ Dacin.

KKL coaching staff and players gave Hawkins a lot of credits, saying that Hawkins is a unselfish and all-around player who plays hard and does not care how many shots he took.

Meanwhile, Sanders showed his defensive skill when he limited Dacin top scorer Tien Lei to less than 10 points.

KKL 80-77 Yulon
KKL: Hawkins 24p+9rb, Cheng Jen-wei 24p, Lin Chih-lung 10p
Yulon: Tseng Wen-ting 20p+13rb, Lee Hsueh-lin 10p

PY 96-79 Dacin
PY: Sanders 30p+10rb, Hung Chih-shan 22p, James Mao 18p+5a
Daciin: Wang Chih-chun 22p, Chang Chih-feng 18p, Byron Allen 13p+8rb

TM 78-73 BOT
TM: Ouyang Ching-heng 31p, Wu Yung-jen 13p, Hsu Wei-sheng 11rb+5a
BOT: Chen Shun-hsiang 15p, Sun Huan-po 15p, Hsu Chih-chang 13p+12rb



1. KKL 1-0
1. TM 1-0
3. Dacin 1-1
3. Yulon 1-1
3. PY 1-1
6. TB 0-1
6. BOT 0-1

(Photos: ESPN Taiwan, UDN, Apple Daily, Liberty Times)

2010 SBL team rosters

(Name, Position, DOB, Height, Weight)

Bank of Taiwan

Head coach: Lai Liang-chung
Assistants: Chen Kwang-fu

Hsu Chih-chiang, PF, 1982/10/30, 194cm, 94kg
Chen Shen-ya, F, 1983/04/20, 185cm, 80kg
Chang Po-sheng, SG, 1987/02/02, 185cm, 83kg
Chuang Hsiao-wen, F, 1983/10/28, 190cm, 93kg
Doug Creighton, SF, 1985/03/07, 195cm, 90kg
Hsu Kai-chieh, C, 1985/05/10, 198cm, 95kg
Chen Shun-hsiang, 1985/05/02, 190cm, 90kg
Liu Jui-sheng, PG, 1983/07/29, 170cm, 75kg
Wu Chun-hsiung, C, 1984/08/26, 198cm, 95kg
Chang Jung-hsuan, SF, 1987/12/18, 194cm/85kg
Chen Kuo-wei, PF, 1984/07/06, 190cm, 130kg
Hsu Shih-ching, F, 1984/11/01, 192cm, 95kg
Chen Yu-chih, SF, 1984/01/26, 193cm, 90kg
Sun Huan-po, PG, 1985/09/01, 182cm, 78kg
Yang Cheng-jung, 1986/02/22, 200cm, 102kg
Lin Jui-kun, PG, 1986/05/21, 180cm, 72kg
Jeff Jones, F, 1983/07/22, 203cm, 100kg

Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor

Head coach: Lo Tien-chin
Technical consultant: Chen Chin-hsiung
Assistants: Liu Meng-chu

Kao Tien-lin, PG, 1983/09/11, 177cm, 74kg
Lai Hua-pin, PG, 1985/12/13, 178cm, 78kg
Hsu Pin-yen, G, 1991/01/16, 183cm, 73kg
Hsiao Yuan-chang, PF, 1984/11/03, 195cm, 92kg
Wang Hao-yu, G, 1988/02/09, 178cm, 71kg
Chen Li-wei, SG, 1984/11/22, 184cm, 75kg
Chen Ching-huan, F, 1986/02/03, 190cm, 78kg
Yang Nung, SG, 1988/03/02, 181cm, 70kg
Hung Chi-chao, PG, 1982/02/13, 188cm, 75kg
Hung Ying-che, C, 1986/01/06, 198cm, 100kg
Wang Nan-kuei, SG, 1983/05/21, 180cm, 84kg
Chang Ming-che, F, 1984/06/20, 190cm, 90kg
Cheng Jen-wei, F, 1987/04/06, 194cm, 90kg
Huang Chu-tao, F, 1982/09/04, 195cm, 84kg
Lee Chun-wei, C, 1988/10/17, 199cm, 90kg
Chang Chun-wei, PF, 1986/02/20, 193cm, 105kg
Lin Chih-lung, PG, 1983/12/02, 172cm, 77kg
Shawn Hawkins, F, 1982/07/31, 198cm, 102kg

Taiwan Mobile Leopards

Head coach: Cheng Chih-lung
Assistants: Huang Chun-hsiung, Kenny Kao

Chen Hui, PG, 1978/04/17, 187cm, 87kg
Teng An-cheng, SG, 1985/11/06, 185cm, 94kg
Wei Wei, SG, 1987/12/09, 180cm, 70kg
Lai Kuo-hung, PF/C, 1974/12/08, 198cm, 95kg
Chen Yao-ting, F, 1988/06/28, 195cm, 88kg
Kang Chao-hsiang, C, 1987/04/19, 208cm, 120kg
Hsu Tse-hsin, PG, 1982/06/04, 177cm, 75kg
Wu Yung-jen, PG, 1982/09/22, 177cm, 75kg
Chang Yi-ming, PG, 1984/04/13, 187cm, 85kg
Yen Cheng-hung, PF/C, 1986/02/05, 196cm, 90kg
Hsu Wei-sheng, PF, 1985/03/23, 198cm, 90kg
Liu Sheng-yao, SG, 1983/11/24, 190cm, 86kg
Lo Hsin-liang, SG, 1971/03/18, 182cm, 83kg
Ouyang Ching-heng, SF/SG, 1979/10/28, 191cm, 87kg

Taiwan Beer

Head coach: Yan Chia-hua
Assistants: Chou Chun-san, Liu Hua-lin

*Lin Chih-chieh, F, 1982/06/11, 192cm, 95kg
*Yen Hsin-shu, PG, 1976/09/08, 183cm, 76kg
*Hsu Hao-cheng, PG, 1982/09/14, 176cm, 75kg
Wang Chien-wei, F, 1985/01/07, 190cm, 85kg
Yang Yu-ming, SG, 1979/10/22, 180cm, 73kg
Hsu Cheng-wen, C, 1983/04/06, 197cm, 110kg
Wang Hsin-kai, PG, 1983/10/01, 176cm, 66kg
Ho Shou-cheng, F, 1983/02/15, 196cm, 97kg
Wu Tai-hao, C, 1985/02/07, 202cm, 100kg
Chen Shih-nian, PG, 1984/04/08, 180cm, 76kg
Chou Tse-hua, PG, 1987/10/04, 184cm, 85kg
Pan Jen-te, SG, 1979/09/18, 175cm, 78kg
Yang Ching-min, SG/SF, 1984/01/22, 188cm, 90kg
Hsin Chin-chan, SF, 1979/09/12, 190cm, 87kg
Wu Chia-lung, SG, 1979/03/23, 185cm, 86kg
Shang Wei-fan, PF, 1978/03/09, 197cm, 95kg
Ha Hsiao-yuan, C, 1981/05/15, 200cm, 112kg
Delvin Thomas, C, 1978/09/31, 201cm, 104kg

* - Currently playing in China

Pure Youth Construction

Head coach: Hsu Chin-tse
Assistants: Liu Yi-hsiang, Chung Wei-kuo

Chen Shih-chieh, G, 1984/09/24, 176cm, 70kg
Wu Chien-lung, PF, 1988/09/05, 193cm, 93kg
Lin Huan-chao, C, 1985/04/18, 202cm, 101kg
Chang Yu-lin, SF, 1986/01/16, 192cm, 80kg
Hung Chih-shan, PG, 1985/07/05, 176cm, 75kg
Zuo Tsun-kai, SF, 1986/09/15, 190cm, 78kg
Chien Chia-hung, PF, 1987/03/06, 197cm, 108kg
James Mao, F/G, 1982/11/16, 196cm, 90kg
Tsai Wen-cheng, PF, 1985/05/31, 188cm, 98kg
Lin Chin-pang, F/G, 1985/06/15, 190cm, 80kg
Huang Chi-feng, F, 1984/03/12, 192cm, 85kg
Chen Chun-chieh, PG, 1983/06/04, 184cm, 75kg
Chu Yi-tsung, F, 1986/08/04, 186cm, 80kg
Lin Tsung-ching, F/G, 1985/04/22, 188cm, 92kg
Jonathan Sanders, F/C, 1981/09/23, 201cm, 100kg

Dacin Tigers

Head coach: Chiu Ta-tsung
Technical consultant: Huang Wan-lung
Assistants: Hsu Chi-chao

Tien Lei, F, 1983/06/01, 203cm, 108kg
Lee Feng-yung, PF/C, 1980/12/15, 197cm, 93kg
Lin Yi-hui, SF, 1986/03/24, 192cm, 91kg
Wang Chih-chun, PG, 1982/04/23, 180cm, 79kg
Yao Chun-chieh, PF, 1982/03/08, 191cm, 95kg
Chang Chih-feng, SG, 1981/04/22, 183cm, 93kg
Chen Ching-wen, SG, 1987/11/04, 185cm, 76kg
Chen Tse-wei, F, 1985/01/30, 200cm, 99kg
Yen Chia-wei, SF, 1980/04/05, 190cm, 90kg
Lo Yu-chun, PG, 1988/05/07, 185cm, 88kg
Su Yi-chieh, PG, 1987/01/28, 182cm, 78kg
Tsai Chun-ming, C, 1988/02/10, 198cm, 112kg
Yueh Ying-li, F, 1984/08/09, 196cm, 95kg
Wu Hung-hsin, C, 1989/10/21, 202cm, 80kg
Chen Yi-an, SF, 1989/01/02, 194cm, 80kg
Huang Pao-tse, PG, 1976/09/18, 181cm, 70kg
Byron Allen, C, 1981/06/10, 201cm, 127kg

Yulon Luxgen

Head coach: Zhang Xue-lei
Assistants: Chiu Tsung-chih, Tungfang Chieh-te

Chen Chih-chung, PG, 1977/03/02, 182cm, 70kg
Lee Hsueh-lin, PG, 1984/01/31, 175cm, 75kg
Chiu Chi-yi, SG, 1975/10/06, 182cm, 72kg
Chou Shih-yuan, SF, 1983/11/16, 187cm, 80kg
Wei Yung-tai, PF, 1978/10/23, 193cm, 90kg
Chen Wei-yu, F, 1988/10/13, 196cm, 82kg
Wu Chih-wei, C, 1976/07/31, 202cm, 94kg
Lu Cheng-ju, SF, 1986/08/23, 194cm, 88kg
Tseng Wen-ting, C, 1984/07/06, 202cm, 90kg
Yang Che-yi, SF, 1978/10/20, 193cm, 85kg
Lee Chi-yi, PF, 1978/10/27, 197cm, 88kg
Wu Jui-ching, PF, 1981/12/21, 195cm, 92kg
Lin Chieh-min, PG, 1988/11/12, 182cm, 82kg
Wu Feng-cheng, SF, 1986/11/27, 195cm, 78kg
Hsu We-lun, G, 1990/03/19, 181cm, 70kg
*Lin Kuan-lun, SG, 1984/01/23, 187cm, 87kg
*Chen Hsin-an, F, 1980/07/01, 195cm, 97kg

* - Currently playing in China

Sunday, January 10, 2010

SBL opening day: Yulon, Dacin win

5357104-2257810 5357104-2257811 Tien Lei (L), Byron Allen (R)

CNA report on the Yulon-Pure Youth game:

Sanders' 20-20 highlights Taiwan basketball league's opening day

Taipei, Jan. 9 (CNA) American Jonathan Sanders had a rare "20-20" -- 20 points and 21 rebounds -- on the opening day of the Super Basketball League's (SBL) new season, but it was not enough to propel his team to victory, as Pure Youth Construction lost 81-71 to the Yulon Luxgen.

The game, held in the central city of Miaoli, kicked off a 105-game regular season, which observers predicted will be dominated by foreign players, as all seven teams were allowed to hire foreign players this year for the first time in the league's seven-year history.

At the same time, several big-name local players have headed to China for bigger paychecks to play in its professional basketball league.

Sanders, who is playing for his third team in three years in Taiwan, helped Pure Youth to a 43-38 halftime lead with his all-around skill.

But three-time SBL champion Yulon, which lost top player Chen Hsin-an to the Dongguan franchise in the Chinese league and is the only SBL team without a foreign player on its roster, decided to prove that foreign reinforcements weren't necessary.

The team rallied in the second half with a strong attack from behind the three-point arc to turn the game around.

Chou Shih-yuan made four of six three-point tries and scored a game-high 22 points, while Yulon limited Pure Youth to 11 points in the third quarter and extended its lead to 10 with three minutes remaining.

Yulon center Tseng Wen-ting had 11 points, six rebounds and five blocked shots and teammate Lu Cheng-ju added 15.

The SBL, established in 2003, is Taiwan's top basketball competition. Currently there are seven teams in the league.

Jan. 9 results

Yulon 81-71 Pure Youth
Yulon: Chou Shih-yuan 22p, Lu Cheng-ju 15p, Lee Hsueh-lin 14p, Wu Jui-ching 5p+7rb+3blk, Tseng Wen-ting 11p+6rb+5blk
PY: Jon Sanders 20p+22rb, James Mao 19p+9rb+5s

Dacin 85-77 TB
Dacin: Tien Lei 24p+10rb, Byron Allen 6p+9rb, Chang Chih-feng 15p, Lin Yi-hui 14p
TB: Yang Ching-min 20p+7rb, Delvin Thomas 11p+14rb

Tseng Wen-ting vs. Jon Sanders

Yang Ching-min

Jon Sanders

Byron Allen vs. Delvin Thomas

(Photo source: UDN, Apple Daily)

Friday, January 08, 2010

SBL teams starting lineups prediction

The following prediction was made by Apple Daily:

Dacin Tigers
PG Wang Chih-chun  5.5p+2.1a
SG Chang Chih-feng  18p+4.7rb+2.5a
SF Lin Yi-hui  10.5p+3.9rb
PF Tien Lei  15.4p+6.9rb
C Byron Allen  12.1p+9.9rb

Pure Youth
PG Hong Chih-shan  9.2p+2.8a
SG Chang Yu-lin  7.9p+2.5rb
SF James Mao  12p+4.6rb+2.3a
SF Tsai Wen-cheng  13.5p+5.8rb
C Jonathan Sanders  DNP

Taiwan Mobile
PG Hsu Tse-hsin  7.9p+3.7rb+3.1a
SG Wu Yong-jen  12.1p+3.9rb+4.1a
SF Ouyang Ching-heng  16p+4.7rb
PF Hsu Wei-sheng  10.3p+4.6rb
C Yen Cheng-hong  10.1p+4.6rb

Bank of Taiwan
PG Sun Hwan-po  DNP
SG Chen Shun-hsiang  14.2p+3.2rb+2.5a
SF Doug Creighton  6.2p+3.9rb
PF Chang Jung-hsuan  7p+3.3rb
C Hsu Chih-chang  17.3p+8.4p

Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor
PG Kao Jie-shang  3.6p+2.5a
SG Chen Ching-hwan  15.7p+6.9rb
SF Shawn Hawkins  DNP
PF Cheng Jen-wei  14.1p+6.5rb
C Hong Ying-che  1.1p+1.2rb

Taiwan Beer
PG Chen Shih-nian  8p+2.8rb+3.9a
SG Yang Yu-ming  9.6p
SF Yang Ching-min  19p+4.7rb+2a
PF Ho Shou-cheng  13.1p+6rb
C Wu Tai-hao  12p+7rb

Yulon Luxgen
PG Lee Hsueh-lin  9.6p+3.2rb+3.8a
SG Chou Shih-yuan  11.6p+3.2rb
SF Yang Che-yi  11.7p+3.4rb+2.2a
PF Wu Chih-wei  10.1p+3.6rb
C Tseng Wen-ting  16.7p+9.3rb+4.4a

SBL import situation update

ShawnHawkins-1 ShawnHawkins-2

(In picture: Shawn Hawkins, source: Apple Daily)

SBL teams decided to look for those imports they were familiar with due to the short amount of time for preparation for the new season.

Jonathan Sanders was brought back to play for his third team in third season with the Taiwanese league, while Dacin re-signed Byron Allen, who helped the team to its first title last year. Delvin Thomas was also back after three years, this time playing for Taiwan Beer.

Taiwan Mobile is still looking for an import player. Yulon has made clear that it will not sign any import before the lunar new year (early February).

The SBL finally allows all teams to sign imports. With the limited time, I believe most of the teams are lack of contacts of sports agencies and time to test players. Maybe they will have a more systematic approach next year.

Import information is listed below, including salary information estimated by Apple Daily:

Pure Youth Construction
Jon Sanders
28, 200cm/92kg, St. Mary's
2006-07 Videoland Hunters
2007-08 Dmedia Numens
Led SBL in rebounding in 06-07 and 07-08... led SBL in assists in 07-08... named to All-SBL team twice in two years... averaged 23.5 points and 16.3 rebounds in 2006-07 and turned in 21.3 points, 16.6 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game in 2007-08.

Dacin Tigers
Byron Allen
28, 198cm/126kg, Northwestern State
2008-09 Dacin Tigers
Named All-SBL team and led the league in rebounding in 08-09... averaged 12.1 points and 9.9 rebounds.

Taiwan Beer
Delvin Thomas
31, 200cm/102kg, Bethune Cookman
2006-07 ETSN Antelopes
Averaged 17.3 points, 9.6 rebounds and two blocks in 06-07

Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor
Shawn Hawkins
27, 198cm/103kg, Long Beach State

Bank of Taiwan
Jeff Jones
26, 200cm/103kg, New Mexico State

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Taiwan basketball league to open new season in Miaoli

Taipei, Jan. 7 (CNA) Taiwan's semi-professional basketball league will open its new season Sunday in the central city of Miaoli, looking to retain fans' interest in the absence of several big-name players who have opted to play in China.

The Super Basketball League (SBL) , Taiwan's top basketball grouping, will begin its 2010 season with hopes of minimizing the negative impact of losing five players to the Chinese league across the Taiwan Strait, among whom are Chen Hsin-an and Lin Chih-chieh, who were two of the league's most popular players.

"The league will suffer if we keep losing top players to China. Hopefully our government and the basketball authorities can do something about it, " said Taiwan Beer forward Ho Shou-cheng in a pre-season press conference.

In order to fill the starless void, the league decided to allow all seven teams to hire import players this year to improve the competition. In the past, only three non-playoff teams were allowed to sign foreigners.

More foreigners means a bigger challenge, said Byron Allen, a 200cm forward/center whose stellar play helped Dacin Tigers beat Taiwan Beer four games to three in a thrilling best-of-seven championship series last year.

"It will be a fun year. Let's see, " Allen said, adding that he feels Dacin players have been more focused this year and have shown great determination to defend their title.

The absence of Chen and Lin and the hiring of more imports has also created parity in the league, which is not necessarily a bad thing, said Wang Jen-da, president of the Chinese Taipei Basketball Association (CTBA), Taiwan's basketball governing body.

"The suspense of not knowing the winner until the last minute... that is the beauty of sports, " said Wang, who is also Dacin's owner.

Yulon and Taiwan Beer have been dominating the league, which was established in 2003 with seven teams, with Yulon winning the first three titles from 2004-2006 and Taiwan Beer following with a repeat.

While the league receives moderate attention among high school students, the SBL always trails the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) , Taiwan's top baseball competition, in terms of fan support, averaging slightly more than 1,000 spectators per game.

Lack of quality venues in the downtown Taipei area forces the league to move its games around the island. The 105-game regular season this year will be played in Miaoli, Hsinchu, Yilan, Xinjuang and Taipei City before staging the entire playoff series in Xinjuang.

The regular season games will be played every Friday, Saturday and Sunday with top four teams advancing to the crossover best-of-five semifinal round. The 2010 SBL champion will be crowned in mid-May after a best-of-seven championship series.

2010 SBL season schedule

Week 1 (@Miaoli)
Jan. 9
1630  Yulon - PY
1830  Opening ceremony
1900  Dacin - TB
Jan. 10
1500  BOT - TM
1700  KKL - Yulon
1900   PY - Dacin

Week 2 (@Miaoli)
Jan. 15
1800  TB - KKL
2000  BOT - Yulon
Jan. 16
1500  Dacin - TM
1700  PY - BOT
1900  Yulon - TB
Jan. 17
1500  BOT - Dacin
1700  TB - PY
1900  TM - KKL

Week 3 (@Miaoli)
Jan . 22
1800  Yulon - TM
2000  KKL - BOT
Jan. 23
1500  TM - TB
1700  Dacin - Yulon
1900  PY - KKL
Jan. 24
1500  TB - BOT
1700  TM - PY
1900  KKL - Dacin

Week 4 (@Hsinchu)
Jan. 29
1800  Dacin - PY
2000  BOT - Yulon
Jan. 30
1500  TM - KKL
1700  PY - BOT
1900  TB - Dacin
Jan. 31
1500  KKL - Yulon
1700  PY - TB
1900  Dacin - TM

Week 5 (@Hsinchu)
Feb. 5
1800  TM - Yulon
2000  BOT - KKL
Feb. 6
1500  Yulon - PY
1700  KKL - Dacin
1900  TB - TM
Feb. 7
1500  Dacin - BOT
1700  KKL - TB
1900  TM - PY

(Lunar New Year break)

Week 6 (@Hsinchu)
Feb. 26
1800  TB - BOT
2000  Yulon - Dacin
Feb. 27
1500  PY - KKL
1700  BOT - TM
1900  Yulon - TB
Feb. 28
1500  Dacin - PY
1700  BOT - Yulon
1900  KKL - TM

Week 7 (@Ilan)
March 5
1800  BOT - KKL
2000  TB - PY
March 6
1500  Dacin - BOT
1700  Yulon - TM
1900  KKL - PY
March 7
1500  TM - Dacin
1700  PY - Yulon
1900  TB - KKL

Week 8 (@Hsinchu)
March 12
1800  BOT - TB
2000  Yulon - Dacin
March 13
1500  TM - PY
1700  KKL - Yulon
1900  Dacin - BOT
March 14
1500  TM - PY
1700  KKL - Yulon
1900  Dacin - BOT

Week 9 (@Taipei)
March 19
1800  BOT - PY
2000  TB - Dacin
March 20
1500  TM - BOT
1700  KKL - PY
1900  Yulon - TB
March 21
1500  PY - Dacin
1700  TB - BOT
1900  TM - Yulon

Week 10 (@Taipei)
March 26
1800  TM - KKL
2000  BOT - Yulon
March 27
1500  Dacin - TM
1700  TB - PY
1900  Yulon - KKL
March 28
1500  TM - PY
1700  TB - Yulon
1900  BOT - Dacin

Week 11 (@Taipei)
April 2
1800  TB - KKL
2000  TM - BOT
April 3
1500  Yulon - Dacin
1700  BOT - PY
1900  TB - TM
April 4
1500  Dacin - KKL
1700  BOT - TB
1900  PY - Yulon

Week 12 (@Hsinjhuang)
April 9
1800  BOT - KKL
2000  TB - Dacin
April 10
1500  Yulon - TM
1700  Dacin - PY
1900  KKL - TB
April 11
1500  Yulon - Dacin
1700  TB - TM
1900  PY - BOT

Week 13 (@Hsinjhuang)
April 16
1800  KKL - TM
2000  BOT - Yulon
April 17
1500  TM - PY
1700  Dacin - KKL
1900  Yulon - TB
April 18
1500  KKL - BOT
1700  TM - Dacin
1900  PY - TB

Week 14 (@Hsinjhuang)
April 24
1700  Yulon - KKL
1900  TM - BOT
April 25
1700  TB - Dacin
1900  KKL - PY

First-round Playoffs (@Hsinjhuang)
April 30
1800 #1 - #4 Game 1
2000 #2 - #3 Game 1
May 1
1700 #1 - #4 Game 2
1900 #2 - #3 Game 2
May 2
1700 #1 - #4 Game 3
1900 #2 - #3 Game 3
May 4
1700 #1 - #4 Game 4 (if neccessary)
1900 #2 - #3 Game 4 (if neccessary)
May 5
1700 #1 - #4 Game 5 (if neccessary)
1900 #2 - #3 Game 5 (if neccessary)

Finals (@Hsinjhuang)
May 7  1900  Game 1
May 8  1900  Game 2
May 9  1900  Game 3
May 14  1900  Game 4
May 15  1900 Game 5 (if neccessary)
May 16  1900 Game 6 (if neccessary)
May 18  1900 Game 7 (if neccessary)

PY: Pure Youth
TB: Taiwan Beer
TM: Taiwan Mobile
BOT: Bank of Taiwan
KKL: Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

KKL to test Shawn Hawkins

United Daily reported that Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor (KKL) will test 6-6 forward Shawn Hawkins, grandson of former NBA great Connie Hawkins.

Shawn Hawkins
198cm / 102kg
Born: July 31, 1982

Pittsburgh, PA (Columbus State)
2004-2005: Long Beach St. (NCAA): 30 games: 11.2ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 38.5%, 3Pts: 27%
2005-2006: Long Beach St. (NCAA): 30 games: 13.1ppg, 6.0rpg, FG: 47.9%, 3PT: 39.7%, FT: 70.1%
2006 July: Southern California Summer Pro League in Long Beach (The Panthers)
2006-2007: Pittsburgh Xplosion (CBA, starting five): 41 games: 13.6ppg, 4.5rpg, 2.5apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 46.6%, 3PT: 33%, FT: 84.6%
2007: Albany Patroons (USBL): 19 games: 9.8ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.1apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 40.5%, 3FGP: 32.5%, FT-1(96.4%)
2007-2008: Albany Patroons (CBA): 2 games: 11.5ppg, 9.0rpg, 4.5apg, 1.0spg, then moved to Daegu Orions (Korea-KBL, starting five): 30 games:18.5ppg, 8.5rpg, 1.7apg
2008-2009: Fort Wayne Mad Ants (D-League): 20 games: 7.6ppg, 4.7rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 41.1%, 3PT-3(47.1%), FT: 75.0%,
Iowa Energy (D-League): 5 games: 6.0ppg, 2.8rpg

Taiwan's sports marketing

An article from Taiwan government-sponsored magazine Taiwan Review:


Health and Happiness for Sale
Publication Date:01/01/2010


The Indiana Pacers played the Denver Nuggets in an exhibition match at the Taipei Arena in October 2009, marking the first NBA game ever played in Taiwan. (Central News Agency)

Taiwan’s sports marketers are building upon the success of a recent NBA exhibition game as they promote events and products.

Surveys from the Sports Affairs Council (SAC) show that basketball is the most popular participant ball sport played in Taiwan. Attending basketball games as a fan, however, is another story. Except for the season-ending championship series, for example, most people on the island think twice when asked to pay between NT$150 and $500 (US$4.50 and $15) to watch a regular season game of Taiwan’s semi-professional Super Basketball League (SBL).

And there does not seem to be much “discrimination” between local versus foreign events. When 10 top streetball players from the United States including Phillip “Hot Sauce” Champion and Grayson “The Professor” Boucher visited Taiwan for two exhibition games last September, for example, only 500 fans were willing to pay between NT$1,000 and $2,500 (US$30 and $75) for the first game at a 10,000-seat stadium in Linkou, Taipei County. The second game, originally scheduled to be played in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan on the following day, was canceled. The marketing company that organized the event told the press that something had obviously gone wrong with their marketing strategy, and adjustments would have to be made if it was to bring another streetball game to Taiwan in the future.

Pleasant Surprise
So Eric Chang, general manager of Bros Sports Marketing, was pleasantly surprised when he learned that people were not hesitating to spend between NT$800 and $12,800 (US$24 to $387) for a ticket to the first-ever National Basketball Association (NBA) game played in Taiwan last October. According to Chang, the organizer of the event, except for the 3,000 tickets reserved for the NBA office and sponsors, all 9,000 tickets available to the public were sold out 15 minutes after online sales opened three months before the game. The eight VIP seats available for the game—which cost NT$200,000 (US$6,060) each and were not available via online sales—also sold out.

The two NBA teams, the Indiana Pacers and the Denver Nuggets, landed in Taipei on October 6. After their open practices on the following day and as part of the NBA Cares program, the players held a coaching session for 82 children sponsored by World Vision who were affected by Typhoon Morakot, which struck southern Taiwan last August. Then in the evening of October 8, about 12,000 fans filled the Taipei Arena to enjoy the power, speed and skills the teams demonstrated in the preseason game, as well as the passes, dunks and three-pointers of star players like Danny Granger of the Pacers and Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups of the Nuggets. Based on the enthusiasm for the event, which was reflected by the high demand for tickets, Chang is confident about bringing in more professional matches—such as the Harlem Globetrotters or even a Major League Baseball game, for example—to Taiwan in the future.

Initially a vendor selling sporting goods and an organizer of sports-related recreation activities at the Hsinchu Science Park, Bros Sports Marketing was founded in 2001 and went on to become one of Taiwan’s first sports marketing firms, mostly because of the founders’ passion toward sports. Over the years, it has grown to become Taiwan’s largest company in the sector, and has helped organize many major sporting events such as 2009’s Kaohsiung World Games and Taipei Deaflympics.

Event-Marketing Approach
Shao Yu-lin, an associate professor of recreation and sports management at the Taipei Physical Education College, thinks that the Chinese Basketball Alliance (CBA), which was Taiwan’s only true professional basketball league before it folded in 1999 after five seasons, and the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL), Taiwan’s professional baseball league, have both been instrumental in the institutionalization of sports marketing in Taiwan, although the CPBL has faced a series of scandals over the years. A professional team’s income is derived from ticket revenues, team merchandise sales, television revenues and advertising sales. Taiwan’s professional teams are all corporate owned. While these enterprises have many ways to market themselves, they usually take the most basic “event-marketing” approach, meaning the use of a single event or an activity to achieve a marketing objective or gain exposure for their teams. Whenever the Uni-President Lions win a season title or the annual championship, for example, all the 7-Elevens in the country, which are operated in Taiwan by Uni-President Corp., offer some kind of sale or discount for several days. These sales are not infrequent, as the Lions have won the Taiwan Series seven times since the league was founded in 1990.


Taiwan Beer takes on the Yulon Dinos in a 2009 semi-final game in the SBL, Taiwan’s semi-professional basketball league. Despite the SBL’s talented players, energetic dancers and core of enthusiastic fans, ticket sales surge only during the playoffs. (Central News Agency)

Although by late last year some of the team’s players were being investigated for fixing matches during the 2009 season, the Brother Elephants, which in the 2003 season became the first CPBL team to turn a profit, has been the most successful team in marketing in terms of developing ad sponsorships. Rather than just placing sponsors’ logos on uniforms and advertisements around the field, the team “quantifies” these ads with reports on details such as exposure time and estimated value. “Sponsors like to see actual figures and the Brother Elephants team provides them,” Shao says. “While other teams go out to look for sponsors, enterprises have approached the Brother Elephants to run their advertisements.”

The La New Bears team is another successful example, although some former La New players were also facing match-fixing allegations in late 2009. Before buying a CPBL team in 2004, footwear manufacturer La New had already been using event marketing for its products by holding annual national health walk activities since 2000. When the company took control of the Bears, it  adopted Kaohsiung’s Cheng-Ching Lake Baseball Stadium and then took a more professional tack in managing the team, working to improve the diet, uniforms, living arrangements and transportation provided to the players. Such actions not only made a strong impression on the players themselves but garnered media attention, which served as free publicity to boost La New’s corporate image.

Shao estimates that the total number of “customers” for the CPBL is about 300,000 people, which is rather small compared to professional sports in other countries. While sports marketing capitalizes on the popularity of sports, it is very difficult for teams to be profitable in a small market like Taiwan. Most of the time, therefore, most teams are operated because the owners have a passion for baseball, rather than an overriding need to turn a profit. And it is most unfortunate that whenever the CPBL is about to turn profitable, a match-fixing scandal seems to bring it down to the bottom. Over the league’s past 20 seasons, there have been five such scandals.

But even with the CPBL’s ups and downs, more local enterprises have begun to warm up to the concept of marketing their products or brand names through sports, seeing it as a means of gaining an edge over their competitors. Giant Bicycles, for example, started sponsoring Spain’s ONCE team in the Tour de France in 2002. Repeated strong performances by the team have improved Giant’s image and helped it break into the high-end bicycle market in European countries.

Top personal computer manufacturer Acer Inc. is another Taiwanese company that has seen good results from marketing through sports. Acer signed New York Yankees pitcher Wang Chien-ming  as a spokesperson for its products in 2005. The “alignment” between the two, as Acer put it when signing Wang, was that both were Taiwanese “products” that, after years of struggle and hard work, earned their “brand names” internationally. It has been reported that when Wang has pitched well, sales of Acer products he endorses have experienced double-digit growth.

Collective Passion
From the point of view of marketing through sports, having an “alignment” with a star like Wang is helpful, but not required. “Sport is one thing that is capable of arousing collective passion,” says Eric Chang of Bros Sports Marketing. “Long-term sponsorship of sports events can usually make fans unconsciously associate a sport or a team with a brand name, however unrelated the two might seem to be.” As such, enterprises have also begun to view sponsoring sports as part of a longer-term plan instead of a one-off initiative. After watching women’s 9-ball billiards games, which have been popular in Taiwan for about a decade, for example, people are likely to think of the brand name Amway, which has been sponsoring the Amway WPA Women’s 9-Ball tournament since 1998. And when watching people jog, ING Antai Life Insurance (now Fubon Life) may come to mind, as the company has sponsored the ING Taipei International Marathon—an event that has drawn more than 100,000 local and international participants every year—since 2004.

Hsu Yang, an associate professor at Aletheia University’s Department of Sport Management, points out that sports marketing is a relatively new field even in the West. Most companies in the sector in Western countries were set up after 1990, while most were established in Taiwan after 2000. Although foreign sports marketing companies usually provide a full range of services in the areas of consulting, merchandising, client management and sports business investment, Taiwan’s companies focus mainly on hosting sporting events and seeking sponsorship. Hsu, however, does not think this difference is a problem. “The purpose of sports marketing is to sell sports products—goods, tickets or sponsorship,” he says. “Creative and good management of events create a good platform for selling these products.”

Organizing events, as Eric Chang sees it, is full of challenges in Taiwan. Preparing for the NBA’s Taipei game, for example, took Chang and his company 10 months of hard work that ranged from applying to the NBA office to host the game and finding sponsors to developing a series of marketing initiatives, including placing posters in cafes and convenience stores, fan activities, online games, downloadable NBA screen savers made available through popular local websites and even ads sent through cellphone text messages.

When planning such a major sporting event, securing financing is usually the first thing a planner has to deal with. The pay, transportation, accommodations and insurance for the NBA players and team staff for the Taipei game totaled US$8 million, of which US$1.8 million came from Chang’s company and the rest from sponsors including Cathay Financial Holding and Chunghwa Telecom. Money alone, however, is not enough to put on such a large event. “You need to have the heart to make it happen,” Chang says. “I’m a fan myself and have always wanted to watch an NBA game played in Taiwan, so it was like making a dream come true.”

Another difficulty for the local industry is a lack of professional experience in the field. Most employees at Bros Sports Marketing, for example, are sports enthusiasts like Chang, but initially had little familiarity with marketing. To help them gain the necessary knowledge, Chang offers his employees many marketing-related and language courses, as well as opportunities to observe how it is done in other countries. The company’s biggest prize at its year-end party, for example, can be flights and tickets to an NBA game.

There are no lack of departments and graduate programs devoted to sports marketing, sports and leisure studies, and sports management at local colleges and universities. The number of Taiwanese going to the United States to study sports marketing has also been increasing. “The problem is that students can’t really design efficient strategies for organization, marketing and human resource management without practical working experiences,” says Hsu Yang. “Meanwhile, college graduates often find it difficult to apply the fragmentary knowledge they’ve learned at school on the job.”

To offer his students some practical experience, Hsu has organized an annual project since 2006, in which sports marketing students are grouped and tasked with promoting sports in Danshui Township, Taipei County, where Aletheia University is located. The project lasts for nine months, spanning two semesters, and the students are required to design, manage and promote events that are able to attract fans and the notice of the media. One of the more successful events, according to Hsu, was a girl’s rugby game that drew about 700 audience members and 30 journalists to the match, with the event covered by Taiwan’s biggest television news channels.

Drawing such attention and media coverage to a non-mainstream sport can be viewed as an accomplishment in the field of sports marketing. A look at the ratio of the number of audience members at the game to the township’s overall population of 200,000, however, reflects the larger challenges of operating in a small market that the industry as a whole has been facing. In other words, just as the Aletheia students had to work hard to attract a small subgroup of women’s rugby fans from Danshui’s small total population, sports marketers for larger events face an uphill climb to attract a sufficient number of local sports fans from Taiwan’s relatively small total population of 23 million.

Like the efforts of nearly all governments around the world to improve physical fitness and quality of life by encouraging their people to make exercise a part of everyday life, Taiwan has also been promoting “sports for all” since the early 2000s by holding and funding sporting events. According to the SAC, about 20 percent of the people on the island now exercise habitually, though the number is still low compared to the 30 or even 40 percent in Western countries.

Although Chang does not offer what he considers a more accurate estimate, he thinks that the SAC’s number is way too high, but that is exactly why he is upbeat about the sports market in Taiwan. “It’s like selling footwear in Africa,” Chang says. “The fact that most people don’t wear shoes, or exercise regularly in our case, represents a huge potential market to be cultivated.” While selling shoes in Africa may be overly optimistic, marketing sports sounds doable in a developed economy where people have the time and money for the pursuit of health and happiness—of sports, that is.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Delvin Thomas back with Taiwan Beer

341696456_5dca62fad1 Delvin Thomas

Local media reported that former SBL import Delvin Thomas, who previously played with ETSN, will be back to the league with Taiwan Beer.

Thomas, a 31-year-old 6-7 forward/center, averaged 17.3 points, 9.6 rebounds and two blocks in 2006-07 season.

Apple Daily reported that Taiwan Beer will not sign Eric Hicks.

According to SBL veteran Jon Sanders (link), Bank of Taiwan is looking at Jeff Jones from Bay Area. Jones is a friend of Sanders.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Defending champ Song-shan HS first to make elite eight

Defending High School Basketball League (HBL) champion Song-shan High School beat Youth Senior High School 91-78 in overtime Sunday, becoming the first team to advance to the elite eight stage this year.

Led by sophomore center Hu Lung-mao, who had 8 of his 22 points in the extra session, Song-shan avoided a huge upset en route to its 25th consecutive victory which spanned three seasons. Hu, one of the most promising players in the league this year, also grabbed 12 rebounds and had two blocks in only 22 minutes of playing time.

Hong Kang-chiao had a career-high 31 points to go with 12 boards, six steals and five assists for Song-shan, which was known as the "Green Shields" for their defensive tenacity, before fouling out in the final quarter.

The HBL is currently in the second round which eight teams will advance to the quarterfinal round in a 12-team field.

By the way, this is the 1500th post of this blog, which started in 1999. It's a nice little accomplishment for me after 10 years.

Friday, January 01, 2010

SBL update: import situation

-- New season

The 2010 SBL season will tip off January 9 in Miaoli, a central town in Taiwan.

-- Import situation

Eric Hicks Eric Hicks 2
Eric Hicks (Source: Apple Daily)

Vincent Grier 
Vincent Grier (Source: Apple Daily)

The SBL has decided that all seven teams are allowed to hire imports for the new season. If I'm not mistaken, the height limit will be 6-7 and the maximum monthly salary will be US$10,000.

6-7 forward Jonathan Sanders, 28, will be playing for his fourth team in the league. Sanders signed with Pure Youth after spending the previous three years with Videoland, dmedia and KKL, respectively. Sanders led his teams to the playoffs in all three years.

6-7 forward Byron Allen, 28, who helped Dacin Tigers to its first SBL title in team history last season, will stay with the team.

Taiwan Beer is testing Cincinnati forward Eric Hicks. Hick, 26, is 6-6 and 250 pounds.

Meanwhile, Taiwan Mobile is holding its pre-season training camp in Korea and will test its import Vincent Grier there. Grier, a 6-5 forward/guard out of University of Minnesota, played for NBA's Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves and Washington Wizards in the pre-seasons from 2006-08.

According to media reports, Bank of Taiwan, KKL and Yulon are still looking for import players. Yulon is not expected to sign any import soon.

Deadline for import signing is Feb. 28.