The Championship Finals begin at 7pm this evening at the Kaohsiung Feng Shan Gymnasium, where top-seeded and four-time defending champions Pure Youth Construction will look to defend their title against the second-seeded Taiwan Beer.
The best-of-seven series is a rematch from last season, when the Builders overcame a 1-3 deficit in dramatic fashion, taking the final three games to deny the Brew Crew’s bid for what would have been their fourth league title.
Topping the fifth-seeded Fubon Braves 4-2 in the semi-finals, despite dropping the opener, Pure Youth took games 2, 3, 5 and 6 to punch their ticket to an unprecedented fifth straight finals appearance.
As for Taiwan Beer, the road to their quest for the Holy Grail began with an overtime win against the third-seeded Dacin Tigers in their semi-final opener. They needed just five games to tame the Cats, winning the best-of-seven series 4-1.
“We are not going to make the same mistake again this year, you can be sure of that,” Taiwan Beer head coach Yen Chia-hua said in an interview, referring to his team’s meltdown in the final three games of last year’s championship finals.
Yen and the rest of the Brew Crew have their work cut out for them, as the Builders will try to make it five titles in five finals appearances to remain unbeaten in title series.
“We have only one goal, which is to win the title, and we will do everything we can to reach that goal,” Pure Youth head coach Ben Metcalf said earlier this week.
It will not be an easy task for the Builders either, as the Brew Crew dominated their five regular-season games, winning four with an average margin of victory of 8.8 points.
Though some might argue that results from the regular season are not a good indicator of post-season form, the wins should be a mental boost for Taiwan Beer, especially in the opener.
How well Liu Cheng plays against the high-pressure Pure Youth defense and how quickly Taiwan Beer get back on defense to minimize their exposure to the patented Builders’ transition game will likely determine the series.
Also worth noting is the play of the Brew Crew’s emerging star Chiang Yu-an, who has improved steadily to establish himself as one of the premier slashers in the league with an unbelievable first step that could mean trouble for the Builders half-court defense.
If the point guard is allowed too much penetration, it will create some easy basket opportunities for the Brew Crew.
A feel-good campaign allowing fans to have cardboard cutouts of themselves at Australian rugby league games has been hijacked by pranksters, with a notorious serial killer among those making an appearance — while one TV show edited an image of Adolf Hitler into the crowd. The NRL launched “Fan In The Stand” to coincide with the sport’s return at the weekend after its season was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Supporters are barred from stadiums under strict health protocols, but can pay A$22 (US$15) to have their photograph printed on a life-size cutout and placed in the stands of
When Atalanta BC coach Gian Piero Gasperini was struggling with COVID-19 in the middle of March, the prospect of entering Bergamo’s hospital — which was overflowing with coronavirus patients at the time — made him fear for his life. “Every two minutes an ambulance passed by. It seemed like a war,” Gasperini said. “At night, I would think: ‘If go in there [the hospital], what will happen to me?’” Fortunately for Gasperini, he quickly recovered and did not have to check into Pope John XXIII hospital. The coach only recently confirmed that he had the coronavirus when the entire team was tested 10
The losing captain thanked the winning team’s players for their personal sacrifices leading into the match and a charter flight pilot received a big round of applause when his plane beat incoming fog to touch down after midnight following another game as feel-good stories off the field matched those on it as the National Rugby League (NRL) restarted its season in Australia over the weekend. The New Zealand Warriors’ 18-0 win over St George Illawarra was the Auckland-based team’s first of the season after three rounds and it could not have come at a better time. Due to international travel restrictions
“Road Runner” Alphonso Davies lived up to his nickname with another lightning sprint on Saturday as Bayern Munich opened a 10-point lead in the Bundesliga. Having defeated second-placed Borussia Dortmund 1-0 away in midweek, Bayern enjoyed a 5-0 romp over Fortuna Duesseldorf. Defender Mathias Joergensen scored an early own-goal before Benjamin Pavard, Robert Lewandowski (2) and Davies scored for Bayern. With five games remaining, the defending champions, who have won their past eight league games, are comfortably on course for an eighth straight league title. Davies scored the best goal of the game when the fleet-footed defender pressed Duesseldorf into making a mistake, barged