More than 10,000 hoops fans are expected to flock to the Sinjhuang Sports Complex in New Taipei City at 7:30pm tomorrow to cheer on Team Taiwan against Japan in the opener of the 33rd William Jones Cup International Basketball Tournament.
With most this year’s participants having already secured a spot in the upcoming Asian Championship in Wuhan, China, the annual mid-summer basketball classic will promise an all-out effort from each squad as they look to showcase the results of their months of preparation and perhaps land a higher seeding for the championship.
Seeking to improve on their fifth-place finish of a year ago, the Taiwanese national squad will be led by head coach Chou Chun-san (a Taiwan Beer assistant coach), who is making his debut at the helm after being named to the post less than six months ago.
Chou will receive plenty of support form technical adviser Bob Hill, a former NBA coach, and assistant coach Hsu Chin-che (Pure Youth Construction) as he leads a crew that features the potent frontcourt trio of Chen “Airman” Hsin-an, Lin “The Beast” Chih-chieh and former Yulon Luxgens great Tseng Wen-ding, which should pose a serious threat to their opponents.
Rounding out the starting five are backcourt tandem Chen Shih-nian (Taiwan Beer) and Lin Hsueh-lin, who have been regulars on the national squad for the past few years.
The United Arab Emirates will make their first appearance in the competition this year, which also includes the defending champs from Iran and perennial powerhouse Jordan, who won the title three years ago, along with Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines and South Korea.
South Africa had committed to make the trip to Taiwan as recently as last week, before canceling this week because of funding difficulties, leaving just eight teams to do battle.
Unlike last year’s competition, which did not have a medal round, this year’s play will feature a round-robin preliminary round before a medal round on the final two days of competition.