Sunday, August 22, 2010

2010-11 SBL season to tip off on Christmas

The CTBA has set Dec. 25 as the opening date of the 2010-2011 SBL season after a preparatory meeting this past week. The annual SBL draft will be held on Sept. 1.

There were also a number of changes made in the meeting. Weekly game days will be increased from three days to four days to shorten the season, which will run from December 2010 to April 2011. The first round playoffs will be in best-of-seven format instead of best-of-five.

The shortened season will give Taiwan NT more time to train and get ready for the East Asian Championship, the qualifying tournament for the 2011 Asian Championship, the CTBA said.

Exhibition games will be held before the season but there will be no All-Star Game. Each team will meet opponents five times each in a 30-game season as the same as last year.

With respect to import hiring, each team is allowed to hire an import under 6-7 (200cm) with a maximum monthly salary of US$10,000. The "import deadline" will be on Feb. 12, 2011, which means before this date teams can replace imports whenever they want.

According to local media report, CTBA had planned to implement a great scale of "reform" on season format but the plan was nixed by team representative. The planned new season format would see teams playing every opponent four times each. That means we would be looking at a 24-game season rather than 30.

Under the plan, the playoff format would have been overhauled. Six of seven teams in the league would make the playoffs. No. 6 will meet No. 3 and No. 4 will meet No. 5 in the best-of-seven first-round playoff with winners advance to the best-of-seven second round, where they will take on No. 1 and No. 2, which receive a Bye in the first round, respectively. The second round winners then advance to the best-of-seven SBL Finals.

The plan was to extend the playoffs to raise fan interest because attendance records have been always poor during the past regular seasons. In the past, top teams often tanked the regular season after clinching the playoffs and the bottom-dwellers simply just gave up in the second half of the season.

The season opener is expected to be held in Taipei area, the CTBA said, adding that regular season games will also be played around the country in places like the central city of Taichung, the southern port city Kaohsiung -- Taiwan's second largest city -- and Yilan, which is located in eastern Taiwan.