Mon, Feb 14, 2005 - Page 19 News List

Some teams have nowhere else to go but up


This final piece in a three-part analysis on the first half of the Super Basketball League season will take a look at the bottom three clubs in the league.

Having already exceeded their victory total of five from last season, the Bank of Taiwan (6-7) are by far the most improved team this year, with a physical lineup that leads the league in total rebounds per game (38.2) and fourth in total offense (79.9 points per game).

Recent wins over the Dacin Tigers and the Videoland Hunters have proven that the bankers' success is not a fluke. Frontcourt tandem Yang Jing-ming and Chu Yung-hung's outstanding play has been the main factor behind the turnaround.

The versatile Yang has slick inside moves that makes him tough to defend in the low post and an outside shot that finds the bottom of the net more often than not.

As for Chu, the well-built power forward uses his size advantage to gain good rebounding position when shots are taken.

ETTV Antelopes

The first half has been a major disappointment for the ETTV Antelopes as their off-season addition of veteran point guard Chou Jung-san (from the Lions) and big man Liao Wei-cheng (from Taiwan Beer) to a lineup that already has all-star center Wu Dai-hao and sharp shooter Yang Yu-ming has not translated into a host of wins.

Though many would attribute the Antelopes miserable first half (4-8) to the uncertainty at the top as they go through their second coaching change of the season, the absence of player leadership may be what is really at fault.

Chou has not provided the otherwise young squad the kind of veteran leadership that one would expect from a player with over 13 years of experience, although he has played his heart out in every game.

Chou must demonstrate the importance of team work, especially on their half-court offense, which ranks last in the league, if the Antelopes wish to finish out the second half in respectable form.

Sina Lions

For the Lions (1-13), luck really hasn't been on their side, as late-game collapses and bad breaks have cost them at least four wins.

The team that made it into the finals last season faced the departure of three starters last year and must undergo the painful rebuilding process with a young lineup.

With floor leader Luo Hsin-liang and muscle man Liu Yi-shiang providing the necessary tutelage to the group of fast-learning, young rookies, the Lions may climb out of the cellar if they continue to improve at their current pace.

Their impressive 84-78 victory over the beermen just prior to the Lunar New Year holiday could be the beginning of a solid second half.

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