SBL play resumes this evening following the annual All-Star Weekend with Taiwan Beer taking on Kinmen Liquor at the Sinjhuang Sports Complex in New Taipei City.
Last week’s Player of the Week, Tso Tsong-kai, is expected to feature for the Brew Crew, having had nearly two weeks to celebrate his first selection for the honor. The former Tsai Hsing Senior High School standout will be trying to give his team a fresh start to the year after a dismal 6-9 record in the first half of the season, a record-worst for the team.
“Obviously, we are in a less-than-ideal situation this year, with many of our veterans having left the team, but that’s not to say that we can’t still be very competitive,” Taiwan Beer coach Liu Jia-fa was quoted as saying in the Chinese-language press earlier this week.
The former Dacin Tigers head coach, who assumed his new role at the start of the season, lost nearly all of last year’s starting lineup after the Taiwan Mobile Cloud Leopards lured away internationals Wu Dai-hao, Cheng Ren-wei, Ho Sho-cheng and Chen Shih-nian with lucrative deals.
With one of the league’s youngest starting lineups, Taiwan Beer will need solid performances from sophomore extraordinaire Liu Chan and point guard Chou Tzu-hua to complement Tso and inside threat Byron Allen if they wish to remain competitive.
Taiwan Beer’s opponents tonight will be the streaky Distillers, who have shown flashes of brilliance with wins over the Yulon Luxgens and the Leopards despite their league-worst 3-12 record.
The two teams have split their first two games thus far, with the Distillers pulling off a minor upset win in their last meeting by a slim 82-80 margin.
Next up this evening are the Leopards and Bank of Taiwan in a must-win game for the Leopards after their embarrassing defeat by Kinmen Liquor on Dec. 29, in which they were held to only 65 points by the worst defense in the league.
The second-placed Leopards also need the win to maintain their slim one-game lead over the third-placed Tigers, who have two relatively easy games this weekend against opponents with losing records.