Fri, Jun 03, 2005 - Page 22 News List

Tien Lei rakes in the honors at SBL awards

By Paul Huang  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

The Dacin Tigers' Tien Lei, the Super Basketball League's Most Valuable Player of the 2004 season, shows off his award on his 22nd birthday on Wednesday night.

PHOTO: COURTESY SBL

The 2005 Super Basketball League (SBL) season closed out on a high note with the annual awards ceremony being held in Taipei on Wednesday night. Crowd favorite Tien Lei was by far the biggest winner on the night as he took home the season's Most Valuable Player (MVP) honor for the second year in a row, in addition to winning the rebounding crown (also for the second straight year) and being named to the All-SBL Team.

The second-year big man for the Dacin Tigers celebrated his 22nd birthday on the night with his parents, who came all the way from Kaohsiung. He received NT50,000 in prize money (NT30,000 for the MVP award, and NT10,000 each for the rebounding crown and being named to the All-SBL Team) for his outstanding achievements in the season. He became the first man in the league to reach the 1,000-point plateau, as well as the 500-rebound milestone, on top of being the only player to average a double-double (22.6 points and 10.7 rebounds per game) for the season.

"I would like to thank my parents for their support through all these years, the coaches for their guidance, my teammates for their unselfish play, and most of all the fans for their unbelievable support," Tien said.

Joining Tien as the other big winner of the night on the award stand was Yulon Dinos center Tseng Wen-ding for winning the Championship Series MVP, the blocked-shot title, and being named to the ALL-SBL Team.

The 20-year-old true center out of Tsai-hsin Senior High was the main reason that the Dinos were able to storm through the postseason in sweeping fashion, winning all five contests with ease to extend their postseason winning streak to ten straight.

Rounding out this season's ALL-SBL Team are scoring champ Lin "the Beast" Chih-jeh of Taiwan Beer (averaging 22.8 points per game in the regular season), Videoland Hunters' point man Chen Hui, and Dinos shooting guard/small forward Chou Shih-yuan.

Chen Hui also walked away with the Top Assists' honor for averaging 5.4 assists per contest in the regular season while guiding the Hunters to a second-place finish.

Also winning multiple awards for the night was Chou Shih-yuan with his 2.7 steals-per-game mark that topped the league in the defensive category. Chou beat the next-best finisher by nearly a full steal per game (2.7 vs. 1.9), demonstrating his tremendous understanding of the opposing offensive scheme and remarkable instinct for the ball.

One cannot bring up the subject of great defense without mentioning the name Chang Chih-fong, the voting media's unanimous choice for this year's Defensive Player of the Year honor.

Playing an all-out style of defense, the Tigers' very own Chang was usually given the task of covering the top player on the opposing offense. And more often than not, the second-year defensive specialist out of Taipei Physical Education College answered the call by holding his assigned target doing minimal damage.

"He [Chang] is by far the best defender in the league when it comes to playing one-on-one defense," said Lin, the league's top scorer.

The night did not belong only to the big-namers, as the Sina Lions' budding star Lu Cheng-ru beat out heavy competition from the Tigers' Lin Yi-hui to win the Rookie of the Year distinction for his solid 9.3 points per game effort on a squad that was in an obvious rebuilding year.

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