Chu Yung-hung's exceptional offensive showing (averaging 17.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in two contests) in the low post, coupled with his solid defensive effort against one of the league's premier scorers (Tien Lei of the Dacin Tigers) made him the unanimous choice among the voting press for this week's Super Basketball League (SBL) Player of the Week distinction.
"It's quite an honor for me, given the level of competition and the amount of talent available in the league. It was good to be nominated for the award several times last year [without actually winning it], but this is simply awesome," Chu said after learning of his selection.
The second-year Bank of Taiwan muscle man, known more for his rebounding ability than being a scoring threat, rang up 25 points and 13 boards in his team's overtime, upset victory over the Tigers last Sunday.
Topping his outstanding offensive contribution against the Tigers was Chu's fine effort in engaging Tien Lei to foul him while on defense, sending the Tigers' scoring icon to the bench for good with five personal fouls in the game.
Chu also played a critical role in rallying his team from being down by as many as 19 points in the game against the Sina Lions, capped by his impeccable defense against Lion sharp-shooter Luo Hsin-liang's game-tying, three-point attempt to preserve the hard-earned victory for the bankers on Friday night. The win not only promptly snapped Bank of Taiwan's four-game losing streak at the time, it also set the financial wizards on the right track for winning back-to-back contests for the first time ever.
Bank of Taiwan will have a chance to see what it is really made of in tonight's tough battle against the Yulon Dinos, winners of their past six games straight. In addition to doing a good job on the defensive glass (limiting the Dinos to one shot per offensive possession), the bankers must challenge the Dinos' perimeter game, namely not giving the Dinos' small forward Chou Shih-yuan a clear look at the basket often.
The bankers will not have much time to catch a breather as they take on the ETTV Antelopes in a physical game tomorrow night. Chu and company will have their hands full in fighting for good positions in the low post against the Antelopes' Wu Dai-hao and Shang Wei-fang.
Pounding the middle should then free up the mid-range jumper for the bankers' Wu Yung-ren, who can be deadly from the outside if he finds his stroke early in the game.
Tonight's other match will feature the winless Lions and the Antelopes in a battle between two slumping teams, losers of ten and four in a row respectively.
This could be the Lions' only realistic chance to break into the win column before the annual all-star break on Feb. 19 as they look ahead to games versus the league-leading Videoland Hunters (Sun-day), the Tigers (Feb. 4) and Taiwan Beer (Feb. 6).
The Lions have let two very winnable games slip away with late-game collapses last week, and must find a way to finish off a game strong if they wish to finally savor the sweetness of victory for the first time this season.
Elsewhere in the league, the Tigers will try to bounce back from their heartbreaking loss to the bankers last week with a win over the beermen tomorrow, before Sunday's weekend finale against Dinos.
Early foul trouble on Tien Lei and Lee Fong-yung over their past two contests has kept the Tigers' top two scorers from playing their usual 32-plus minutes per game, not to mention the fact that they probably did not play at 100-percent (with the foul trouble) when they were on the floor.