The 2006 Super Basketball League (SBL) season came to a consummate end with the annual awards ceremony at the Taipei Grand Hyatt on Monday afternoon.
Crowd favorite and media darling Tien Lei added to his already astonishing list of hardware with a third straight season Most Valuable Player (MVP) honor on top of the scoring title, rebounding crown (also for the third straight year) and being named to the All-SBL Team.
The third-year "Mr Everything" for the Dacin Tigers beat out Taiwan Beer great Lin "the Beast" Chih-jeh by a narrow five-point margin (92-87) to take home the coveted MVP award with an impressive regular-season average of 27.1 points and 11.6 rebounds per contest to account for nearly a third of his team's total offensive production.
Along with the trophies that Tien could not hold up all at once was a hefty sum of NT$60,000 in prize money (NT$30,000 for the MVP award, and NT$10,000 each for the three other awards that he won) for his outstanding achievements in the season.
"I would like to thank all my teammates for their support, I could not have done it without them," Tien said.
"I would say that the MVP is what I covet the most while the scoring title is what I believe is the hardest to come by," Tien added, referring to the tough competition between him and the Beast, the defending scoring champ for the past two seasons.
Joining Tien as the other big winner of the day was Yulon Dinos center Tseng Wen-ding, whose championship series MVP selection was just icing on the cake in a season that the 2.05m-tall giant racked up the Defensive Player of the Year honor, the blocked-shot title, and being named to the ALL-SBL Team.
It was Tseng's dominance inside the paint, either by ways of blocking or altering the opponents' shots that made the Dinos almost impossible to beat.
Rounding out this season's ALL-SBL Team were the Beast, Bank of Taiwan's speedy point man Jien Ming-fu, and YMY veteran guard Luo "the Natural" Hsin-liang.
Jien led the league in steals with 2.07 per game, topping out perennial winner Chou Shih-yuan of the Dinos by a .03 average. The always-energetic backcourt icon for the bankers did not let his small stature (standing just 1.63m tall) mask the exceptional basketball mind and an instinct for the ball that he surely possessed, as he worked his way off the bankers' bench to become one of the premier point guards in the league.
This year's Top Assists honor went to the bankers' Wu Yong-ren, whose 5.0 assists per game was one better than last year's winner Chen Hui's 4.0. Wu and Jien's invaluable contribution was the main reason that bankers made it into the playoffs for the first time in club history.
Two other members from the Bank of Taiwan also received well-deserved recognition for their remarkable effort in turning a group of no-namers into a top-tier squad: Lin "the Killer Bee" Chuin-fong for a solid all-around year that earned him the Most Improved Player of the Year and Coach of the Year winner Wei Chen-ming for his tremendous leadership and guidance that won the hearts of countless fans around the nation.
Last but not least was the Rookie of the Year award, that went to Su Yi-jeh of the Dacin Tigers by a unanimous choice. The young budding star out of the Qiang Shu High School showed no sign of his novel status by calmly sinking numerous clutch shots for the big cats throughout the year like a seasoned veteran would.