Play will resume in the Super Basketball League tonight, with Taiwan Beer taking on the Bank of Taiwan and the top-ranked Dacin Tigers facing the Taiwan Mobile Leopards at the Sinjhuang Sports Complex in New Taipei City.
With the teams well-rested from a three-week-long Lunar New Year break, the fans in northern Taiwan will be treated to a pair of interesting matchups, as the Bankers look to redeem themselves from a six-point loss in their previous meeting against the Brew Crew, while the Tigers will try to improve to 8-1 with a win over their fellow feline opponents.
Big man John Vaudreuil should have a big day inside the paint against the Brew Crew, because he is too big for Taiwan Beer’s Emmanuel Jones to cover one-on-one and too fast for a slower Ha Hsiao-yuan to defend against, should he take the ball strong to the hoop. With help expected to come from the weak side for Taiwan Beer to contain Vaudreuil, shooters Chuang Hsiao-wen and Hsu Chih-chiang should have some open shots from the perimeter, if the Bankers can move the ball around fast enough to find the open man.
The backcourt play of Chen Shih-nian and Wu Yong-ren will be crucial for Taiwan Beer in this game, since they need to take control of the Taiwan Beer offense and feed the ball to a red-hot Yang Jing-min, who netted 25 points in their previous meeting to lead the Brew Crew past the Bankers.
As for the contest between the Tigers and the Leopards, Player-of-the-Month winner Noel Felix will prove his worth against the newly signed Ryan Wright, whose short-but-impressive resume already includes time spent in Mexico, South America, China and Europe.
Skipper Chiou Da-tsong of the Tigers has been very happy with Felix, despite the fact that Felix has not been dominating as far as his statistics are concerned.
“I’m not worried about [Felix] not having great figures, as long as we can win and win consistently,” Chiou said after his hired gun was named Player of the Month last month.
Felix will also have plenty of help from fellow forward Tien Lei and guard Chang “Mr Hustle” Chih-fong, who had been hampered by injuries prior to the New Year break, as the trio represents the nucleus in a Dacin lineup that has dropped only one game in their last eight.
All eyes will be on the Leopards’ Su Hsiang-yi, who will try to have a big game against his former team. The speedy guard, who played for the Tigers for seven seasons before joining the Leopards last season, has not lived up to his billing and will need to have a big season to keep his place in the Leopards’ starting lineup.
Keeping the turnovers to under a dozen will be critical for the Leopards, with Wright unaccustomed to the Leopard offense against a Dacin team that will surely take full advantage of every mistake the Leopards make.