Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Disappointing finish for Taiwan women's NT in Guangzhou

Taiwan women's NT nearly overcame a 18-point deficit but came up short in the end, losing to Japan 73-61 in the bronze medal game in the 2010 Guangzhou Asiad, which concluded on Nov. 27.

Down 30-22 at the half, Taiwan trailed by as many as 42-24 before Liu Chun-yi scored 11 straight and Wen Chi made a pair of threes to make the score 55-43 entering the final period.

Taiwan  rallied behind a 15-0 run to take a three-point lead, 58-55. However, it managed to score three more points in the final six and a half minutes.

Taiwan failed to win a medal after securing a silver in 2006 and a bronze in 2002.

Wen Chi and Liu Chun-yi scored 21 each. Liu pulled down seven rebounds. Center Tsai Pei-chen had nine points, four steals and three blocks.

Chiang Feng-chun, who always played well against Japan, had a disappointing game, scoring two points on 1-for-6 shooting and committing six turnovers.

Japan was led by Nagi Yoko's 26 points.

One thing to note, there was no player on Taiwan's women's NT this year coming from the perennial champion Cathay Life, which did not play in the 2010 WSBL season over its protest of Chunghwa Telecom's controversial recruitment of Chiang Feng-chun.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Taiwan men's basketball setback in Guangzhou goes unnoticed

Taipei, Nov. 24 (CNA) Taiwan men's national basketball team dropped out of the quarterfinal this week, losing to the Philippines and finishing with one win and four losses in the preliminary round of the competition at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.

However, the loss was not widely reported in Taiwan, as it appeared to have been overshadowed by the controversial disqualification of Taiwanese taekwondo athlete Yang Shu-chun, an issue that has been the center of media attention for the past week.

Huang Chao-he, secretary-general of the Chinese Taipei Basketball Association (CTBA), said that the association was expecting non-stop calls from disgruntled fans the day after Taiwan lost 82-73 to the Philippines on Nov. 22.

However, the CTBA did not get any irate calls, despite the fact that it was the first time that Taiwan was knocked out of the final eight in Asiad men's basketball.

Yang's return to Taipei from Guangzhou on Nov. 23 probably eclipsed the basketball team's loss, Huang said.

But while the CTBA may have gained some breathing space, it still has to figure out why its men's team won only one game -- against India -- and lost to Japan, Qatar, Iran and the Philippines, Huang said.

The 2010 Taiwan's men's national basketball team was hampered by the absence of 2.04-meter starting center Tseng Wen-ting, who skipped the event because of injury.

The team's poor showing marred the debut of Taiwan head coach Zhang Xulei, who grew up in China and played for the Chinese national team in his 20's, and was a setback for the CTBA in its plan to nurture local coaches.

South Korean head coach Chung Kwang-suk led Taiwan to fifth place in the 2009 FIBA Asia men's basketball championship, its best finish in the tournament since 1999.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Asian Games: Taiwan out of quarterfinals


Taiwan men's NT lost to Iran and the Philippines to finish 1-4 in the preliminaries and was out of the Asian Games quarterfinal round.

Taiwan lost to the Philippines 82-73 in a battle for the quarterfinal berth on Monday. Lin Chih-chieh had a team-high 21 points while Wu Tai-hao added 20. Lee Hsueh-lin tallied 19 points and 9 rebounds.

Tien Lei, who was bothered by his sprained ankle did not score in 14 minutes.

On Sunday, Taiwan made 12 threes and forced Iran to 22 turnovers but was unable to stop Iranian center A. Kardoustpoustinsaraei, who tallied 22 points and 16 points, in a 73-72 loss.

Taiwan still had the chance to win. However, Tien Lei, Taiwan's go-to man for the second straight game, failed to knock down the potential winning shot. Tien, who also failed to make the final shot in the game vs. Qatar, said after the game that he was fouled in the last possession but didn't get the whistle.

Lin Chih-chieh led the team with 22 points. Wu Tai-hao had 12 and Lee Hsueh-lin had 10. Taiwan was outrebounded 34-16.

Men's Standing:
Group E
China 5-0
South Korea 4-1
Jordan 3-2
North Korea 2-3
Mongolia 1-4
Uzbekistan 0-5

Group F
Japan 4-1
Iran 4-1
Philippines 3-2
Qatar 3-2
Taiwan 1-4
India 0-5

South Korea vs. Philippines
Japan vs. North Korea
Iran vs. Jordan
China vs. Qatar

Women's Standings:
Group A
China 3-0
South Korea 2-1
Thailand 1-2
India 0-3

Group B
Japan 2-0
Taiwan 1-1
Maldives 0-2

Japan vs. South Korea
China vs. Taiwan

(Photos: Liberty times, UDN.com)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A wire news story on TB's CBA plan

Is the trend really inevitable? I don't know. And I hope it's not…

Taiwan basketball team's China bid sparks 'brawn drain' fear

by Amber Wang – Sun Nov 21, 1:36 am ET

TAIPEI (AFP) – A leading Taiwanese basketball team's bid to join China's professional league has intensified concerns on the island that it is suffering a "brawn drain" to its giant neighbour.

The Taiwan Beer side, championship winners in 2006-7 and 2007-8, recently announced that it wants to play in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) league, adding to an emerging exodus of players heading for the mainland.

"We cannot stop players from making the most of their limited athletic lives but rather than losing one after another to Chinese teams, our team could join the CBA," said head coach Richard Yan.

The team, named after the signature product of its main sponsor, Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corp., would attract more backers and offer better deals to players once in the CBA, he said.

The plan raised a few eyebrows, with basketball authorities saying they opposed the team moving its big shots to China while leaving junior players in Taiwan's Super Basketball League (SBL).

"Of course we hope top players stay in Taiwan... We don't want the SBL to become a sideshow to the CBA," said Huang Chao-her, secretary-general of the Chinese Taipei Basketball Association.

While the association does not bar individual players from moving to China, it would be difficult for the Taiwan Beer team to get the green light because it has a state-funded sponsor, Huang said.

"Such a move would require the approval of various government agencies in charge of sports, labour, finance and China affairs. It is a very complicated matter," said Huang.

Several top coaches reportedly backed Taiwan Beer, saying it is inevitable for local teams to tap into China's vast market in the wake of dwindling box office income and funding.

For years Taiwan's top athletes have gone to powerhouses such as the United States and Japan in the hope of taking their careers to the next level, but increasing they are setting their sights on China.

"The trend of going to China is unstoppable," said Chu Yen-shuo, a Beijing-based Taiwanese sport critic and former chief editor of Hoop Taiwan magazine.

"Just like many European players joined the NBA, it's only natural that people want to move where there is more money," he said, adding top Chinese players can earn up to five times more than their Taiwanese peers.

Lin Chih-chieh, a former star forward of Taiwan Beer, was among the players and coaches who jumped on the bandwagon when he joined the Guangsha Lions in eastern Zhejiang province last year.

"China's environment is more competitive. There are more teams and I can vie with top Chinese and foreign players," Lin told AFP in a telephone interview.

"It's a great opportunity to improve myself and boost my career. At my age it's now or never for me to take on the challenge," said the 28-year-old.

Basketball -- both America's NBA and the homegrown game -- is wildly popular in China, with hundreds of millions of Chinese regularly watching NBA matches on television.

Dozens of US players are playing in China's professional leagues, with the highest-profile addition being the former NBA All Star Stephon Marbury, who joined the Shanxi Brave Dragons this year.

Lin warned that Taiwanese players need to brace themselves for a major challenge if they want to play in the stressful and physically demanding Chinese league.

Huang, of Taiwan's basketball association, cited the case of Sina Lions as a warning about the dangers of wishful thinking about China.

The first Taiwanese team to join the CBA quit in 2003 after only two years, blaming adjustment problems, he said.

China is also wooing the island's top talents in other fields such as baseball and billiards, as a recent improvement in ties between two sides spills over into sports.

But Beijing hit a nerve when it reportedly went after the island's sport icon, golf queen Yani Tseng, with a five-million-US-dollar annual sponsorship deal. The world's number two golfer has said she will only play for Taiwan.

The more alarming development for local fans is perhaps in baseball, where Taiwanese coaches have been credited with having played an important part in China's rise in the sport.

Since splitting from China six decades ago, Taiwan has lost to its giant rival in nearly every sporting arena, but had prided itself over its prowess in baseball.

That confidence has been shattered, with the Taiwanese squad suffering humiliating defeats to China in two international matches since 2008, at a time when the island's favourite sport was hit by game-rigging scandals.

It is unclear how many Taiwanese are currently coaching in China but local media reported this year that Chinese teams were planning to recruit at least 20 new coaches from the island.

Taiwan's pro-baseball league reportedly also intends to establish a new team in China, which will consist of players from both sides and could travel to Taiwan to play.

The league's officials were not immediately available for comment.

Subpar performance for Taiwan so far in Guangzhou Asiad


Taiwan women's NT lost to Japan 69-59 Saturday after routing Maldives 127-23 in the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.

It's almost certain that Taiwan will meet Group A leader, either China or South Korea, in the Nov. 24 semifinal match with a runner-up finish in Group B behind Japan, which will meet A2 in the semis.

Chiang Feng-chun led Taiwan in the losing effort with 16 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks. Wen Chi had 14 points and Liu Chun-yi added 10 points.

Japan was led by Yuko Oga's 15 points and six assists. Maki Takada and Hiromi Suwa scored 12 each.

Women's Standings:

Group A
China 2-0
South Korea 2-0
Thailand 0-2
India 0-2

Group B
Japan 1-0
Taiwan 1-1
Maldives 0-1

Meanwhile, Taiwan men's NT lost 72-70 to Qatar Friday and is now tied 1-2 with the Philippines in Group E. Looks like Taiwan and the Philippines will have to fight for the last quarterfinal seed in the group.

Lu Cheng-ju was 5 of 7 from three and scored 23 points to pace Taiwan, which also received 18 points from Tien Lei and 11 from Lin Chih-chieh.

Lu made two threes in the third period to cut the deficit to one and scored 11 to help Taiwan close in the gap again in the final quarter. Trailing 69-68, Tien Lei was stripped of the ball on his baseline drive as Taiwan failed to score on its last possession.

Without center Tseng Wen-ting, Taiwan was pounded on the boards, outrebounded 44-29 by Qatar.

Targuay Alban Ngombo led Qatar with 23 points and 11 rebounds while veteran Yaseen Musa had 15 and 12.

The quarterfinal round will use a knock-out format with F4 meets E1, for example.

Men's Standings:

Group E
China 3-0
South Korea 3-0
Jordan 2-1
Mongolia 1-2
North Korea 0-3
Uzbekistan 0-3

Group F
Japan 3-0
Iran 2-1
Qatar 2-1
Taiwan 1-2
Philippines 1-2
India 0-3

(Photo: Liberty times)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Taiwan 1-1 in Asian Games men's basketball


Taiwan had an easy 93-66 win over India after losing to Japan 63-57 in the opener to split its first two games of the 2010 Asian Games men's basketball competition in Guangzhou, China.

On Wednesday, Lin Chih-chieh had 23 points and Tien added 20 in the rout. Yang Ching-min scored 13 pooints and point guard Lee Hsueh-lin dished out 10 assists to go with five points.

India was led by Jagdeep Singh's 22 points.

Taiwan was not so fortunate the previous night, when it committed 15 turnovers against Japan, which took advantage of Taiwan's carelessness for 14 fastbreak points. Japan also dominated the paint, scoring 44 points in the restricted area against Taiwan's 24.

Taiwan managed to pull within 24-23 at the half after a dismal first quarter, during which it only scored seven points. However, the team could not match up against the more prepared Japanese inside, especially after losing starting center Tseng Wen-ting, who didn't go to Guangzhou with the team due to injury.

Ryota Sakurai scored nine of his 12 points in the crucial fourth quarter to lift Japan for the victory. Joji Takeuchi paced the team with 15 points and 13 rebounds while his twin brother Kosuke Takeuchi also had a double-double of 13 points and 10 boards.

Yuta Tabuse had 10 points for the winner.

Taiwan has to finish in the top four of the six-team Group F to advance to the knockout quarterfinal round. After the loss to Japan, it needs to beat at least one team among Qatar, Iran and the Philippines to ensure the knockout round berth.

Asian Games standings as of Nov. 17

Group E
South Korea 2-0
China 2-0
Jordan 1-1
Mongolia 101
North Korea 0-2
Uzbekistan 0-2

Group F
Japan 2-0
Qatar 1-1
Taiwan 1-1
Iran 1-1
Philippines 1-1
India 0-2

(Photos: Liberty Times)

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Talk about Taiwan Beer's seemingly failed attempt exodus


Taiwan Beer made the front page last week when the United Evening News reported that the team has submitted its application to the Chinese Basketball Association in an attempt to become the Chinese leagues' expansion team.

If TB eventually gets accepted by the 17-team league, it will become the second Taiwanese team to join the CBA after Sina Lions, which played in the CBA from 2002-2003. And of course, it will be a huge story.

Taiwan Beer said that it would not "leave" the seven-team Super Basketball League as most people think. So it's not exactly an exodus. Instead, it planned to keep its "B-team, " composed of inferior players, in the SBL and bring it's A-Team to China.

The Chinese Taipei Basketball Association (CTBA), Taiwan's basketball governing body, and the Sports Affairs Council (SAC), the country's top sports governing body, both denied that they were supportive of the plan.

The CTBA said that it has not received official document from TB about the move while the SAC said that if TB did submit an application, the final approval will be a decision by an inter-agency meeting between the SAC, the Ministry of Justice, the Council of Labor Affairs and the Mainland Affairs Council, given the complex and unique relations between Taiwan and China.

The situation was even more complex because the Taiwan government is the majority shareholder of TB's parent company, Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corp. Imagine what it's like and what the political implication will be when a state-controlled Taiwanese team plays in a Chinese league with teams from other provinces.

The CTBA, SAC and Mainland Affairs Council people are not stupid. They know this would be a serious problem and could pose serious ramification in the future.

If TB ends up playing in China, where it chooses its home city will also be a difficult technical issue. It would be easier if it chooses a Chinese city, like what Sina did when it played in Suzhou, as its home court. If it decides to make Taipei its home court, it means that the other 17 Chinese teams will have to fly in Taipei to play their road games against Taiwan Beer. That will make things much more complicated and stir up political debates again.

I talked to CTBA secretary-general Huang Chao-ho about this. Huang said that the CTBA is not happy about TB's plan to bring its top players to China and leave inferior players in Taiwan, saying that "no association would accept an idea like this."

A basketball official also told me that the CTBA has had conversation with Chinese Basketball Management Center, Chinese authority of basketball, about TB's plan earlier this year when the plan first surfaced.

The center said, the official recalled, it would be "almost impossible" for the authority to accept TB's application, basketball management wise, because there are already tons of basketball teams in China, especially in its second division, set their eyes on joining the first division.

"Unless it becomes a political decision that comes down straight from the top, " the Chinese official was quoted as saying, referring to TB's application bid could possibly become a political decision eventually.

Additionally, the announcement looked like a unilateral decision of TB head coach Yen Chia-hwa, who has been known for his intention to bring the team over to China, thinking that the relocation would be able to boost the team's popularity and profitability, after TTL President Duan Wei denied that he was aware of the plan.

My friend Robin Chu, who is currently living in China and works as a basketball columnist, wrote down his observation in these two columns (in Mandarin): "It's not that easy" (沒那麼簡單) and "What's the hurry?" (台啤急什麼? )

Anyway, looks like the attempt will be blocked for now due to its complexity.

However, this attempt did pose serious concerns in the long run. During the past few years there have been more Taiwanese players, such as Chen Hsin-an, Lin Chih-chieh and Lee Hsueh-lin, signing with Chinese teams individually and Taiwanese basketball is in jeopardy of hollowing out.

Now the CTBA fears that it will bring a domino effect if TB does leave Taiwan. Yulon Luxgen has also mentioned bringing the team to China because it serves the interests of its mother corporation Yulon Motors, which has established auto factories in southeastern China.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Tseng Wen-ting could sign with Shanghai next year


Tseng Wen-ting could sign with China's Shanghai Sharks and become the latest of a long line of Taiwanese players who sign with Chinese team to go for higher salary and tougher competitions, local media reported.

Shanghai, which was owned by Chinese NBA All-Star Yao Ming, offered Yulon Luxgen center Tseng a three-year, NT$20 million contract, it was reported.

According to the 204cm-Tseng, his contract with Yulon Luxgen was signed through mid January, 2011. However, the 2010-11 CBA season is scheduled to open on Dec. 10.

The Taiwan NT starting center said he is leaning toward finishing out the current contract before moving to China in the middle of the 2010-11 SBL season. If that can't be done, Tseng said, he does not rule out playing for Yulon for the entire season on a new short-term contract and join Shanghai before the 2011-12 CBA season.

However, there's no guarantee that Tseng will become a free agent after his contract expires given the lack of institutionalized regulation in Taiwan. He will not become a free agent until Yulon agrees to issue a letter of clearance.

Taiwanese basketball has lost three star players to the Chinese league this year, including former Yulon forward Chen Hsin-an, Taiwan Beer forward Lin Chih-chieh and former Yulon point guard Lee Hseuh-lin.

Chen, who is playing for Dongguan, and Lin, currently with Zhejiang, have both entered their second year in China while Lee signed with Beijing this past summer.

Applause becomes sixth WSBL team

Applause Red Devils women's basketball team became the sixth team in the Women's Super Basketball League (WSBL) after it registered with the Chinese Taipei Basketball Association (CTBA), the team announced the news in a press conference last week.

The Red Devils have recruited a number of players from current WSBL teams, including former Chunghwa Telecom trio of national team starting point guard Wen Chi, power forward Liu Chia-hsiu and guard Chiang Yi-lien.

Ho Shan-shan of Taiyuan Textile and Chen Li-yun of Taipower also signed with the expansion team, which was co-established by Applause Digital Entertainment Ltd. and National Taipei University of Education.

Tsai Po-lung will be the team's head coach. Tsai said that the Red Devils will announce the second wave of new signees after the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.

Five teams currently in the league are: Cathay Life, Taiyuan Textile, Taipower, Chunghwa Telecom and Fo Guang.

TB going to CBA?

Laetst news. More to follow…

Taiwanese basketball team denies it is joining Chinese league

Taipei, Nov. 4 (CNA) A Taiwanese basketball team dismissed reports Thursday that it has applied to join the Chinese professional league in 2011.

Taiwan Beer, one of seven teams in Taiwan's professional Super Basketball League (SBL) , also said that whether it will go to China will be decided only after a full discussion.

The team will "only do so after applying to the Chinese Taipei Basketball Association (CTBA) and the Sports Affairs Council and receiving a green light from them," it added in a news release.

The Chinese-language United Evening News reported that day that Taiwan Beer had submitted an application to join the 17-team Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) after finishing the 2010 season in Taiwan.

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) , which is in charge of Taiwan's China policy, said it checked with the CTBA and learned that the report was false, MAC Vice Chairman Liu Te-shun said.

But an MAC official said that Taiwan Beer players did previously get approval to play in the CBA.

As the government is the majority shareholder of the team's parent company, Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corp., the situation could be even more complex, the official said.

In 2002, Sina Lions became the first Taiwanese basketball team to join the CBA. It chose Suzhou in Jiangsu Province as its home city and played in the league for two years before returning to Taiwan in 2003.

A number of Taiwanese players, most notably Taiwan national team stars Chen Hsin-an and Lin Chih-chieh, have signed with CBA teams in recent years, lured by higher salaries than they can earn in Taiwan.