SINA Wins 4-Nations Tournament

Lo Shin-liang scored 12 of his game-high 39 points in the overtime as SINA beat Taiwan NT 94-90 in the final game of the 4-Nations Invitational Tournament on July 15. SINA took home the championship trophy with a perfect 6-0 record, while Taiwan NT finished with 4-2, losing both games to SINA.

Lo Shin-liang, who shot 11 for 24 from the field and 13 of 14 from the free-throw line, was virtually unstoppable all game, especially in the overtime, when he scored 12 of 13 SINA points and sealed the victory with two three-pointers and the final free-throws. It’s quite obvious Lo approached the game as his revenge of not selecting to the national team.

SINA overcame the furious rally of Taiwan NT in the fourth quarter and took the 81-78 lead with 8.4 seconds remaining in regulation. Following the final timeout, Taiwan NT head coach Lee Yun-kwang’s strategy of putting five shooters on the floor worked beautifully. Lin Jia-huang’s three-point prayer caught nothing but net and even the score at 81 all. But that would be the final highlight of the game for Taiwan NT.

SINA destroyed Taiwan NT on the boards with an unbelievable 45-23 rebounding advantage. Taiwan NT time and again failed to protect the defensive rebounds, which is the most glaring weakness for the team and probably will cost them a lot in the ABC Championship.

■Game Summary
SINA 94-90 (OT) Taiwan NT
SINA – Lo Shin-liang 39p ; Lai Kuo-hong 22p ; Huang Chun-hsiung 8p+16rb
TW – Tien Lei 16p ; Yang Yu-min 13p ; Chen Chih-chun 13p ; Chou Hong-yu 10p ; Wu Chih-wei 10p

Kuwait 84-73 Philippines
KUW – O. Al Farhan 13p+10rb ; H. Batoon 14p
PHI – A. Vergarda 25p ; Y. De Ocampo 10p+10rb ; R. De Ocampo 10p+10rb

■Final Standings
SINA 6-0
Taiwan NT 4-2
Kuwait 2-4
Philippines 0-6

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Day 3-5: SINA Rout Taiwan NT

With most games ending lopsided, Day Three staged the most surprising results in the 4-Nations Invitational Tournament. SINA routed Taiwan NT by 22 points, 86-64, with their experience and hothand from outside, while Kuwait edged Philippines 71-69 and won for the first time in the tournament.

190cm SF Hsiung Jen-jen was in the zone and basically unstoppable in the July 11 game, making 7 of 13 three-point attempts and scored a career-high 29 points. SINA hit the boards and controlled the tempo for all 40 minutes. Taiwan NT looked helpless under new head coach Lee Yun-kwang and can only go one-on-one on offense.

There would be no surprises in Day 4 and 5, home teams came up with easy wins. As predicted, SINA (5-0) and Taiwan NT (4-1) will meet on the final day for the tournament title. Philippines (0-5) also will be looking for their first win when they meet Kuwait (1-4) again in the last game.

■Game Summary
July 11
Kuwait 71-69 Philippines (35-36)
KUW – H. Al-Shamaty 19p+6rb ; A. Al-Saraf 14p+13rb ; K. Al-Hajras 13p+6rb
PHI – Y. De Ocampo 20p+6rb ; J. Punzalan 14p ; A. Vergarda 13p

SINA 86-64 Taiwan NT (44-38)
SINA – Hsiung Jen-jen 29p (7-13 3PT) ; Lo Shin-liang 17p+4rb+3a ; Huang Chun-hsiung 12p+12rb ; Chou Jun-san 6p+6rb+9a
TW – Chiu Chi-yi 17p ; Tien Lei 12p+4rb ; Lee Chi-yi 8p ; Chen Chih-chung 4p+4a

July 13
SINA 94-84(OT) Kuwait
Taiwan NT 83-78 Philippines

July 14
SINA 81-50 Philippines (33-26)
SINA – Lo Shin-liang 21p ; Lai Kuo-hong 13p+5rb ; Wu Yong-jen 9p+6a
PHI – Y. De Ocampo 11p+5rb ; R. Espino 10p

Taiwan NT 89-67 Kuwait (42-35)
TW – Tien Lei 17p+6rb ; Chen Chih-chung 16p+3a ; Yang Yu-min 13p (14min) ; Yen Shin-shu 8p+7a ; Lee Chi-yi 9p+5rb

■Standings
SINA 5-0
Taiwan NT 4-1
Kuwait 1-4
Philippines 0-5

Complete 4-Nations Tournament Rosters

Name, Position, Height/Weight, Age
■Taiwan NT
Tseng Wen-din C 202/85 17
Chen Chih-chun G 183/74 24
Yang Yu-min G 180/72 22
Yen Shin-shu G 183/70 25
Chou Hong-yu F 195/92 25
Tien Lei F 200/86 18
Ho Sho-jen F 195/88 18
Lee Chi-yi F 198/90 23
Chiu Chi-yi G 182/72 26
Chen Hsin-an F 196/90 22
Wu Chih-wei C 202/94 25
Wu Dai-hao C 200/98 16
Lin Jia-huang G 186/85 27
Huang Bao-tse G 180/70 26
Shan Wei-fan F 195/90 24
Head Coach: Lee Yun-kwang
Assistant: Dong-fan Che-ter, Lin Jian-ping

■SINA
Chou Jun-san G 173/73 32
Lo Shin-liang G 182/83 30
Huang Chun-hsiung F 200/98 30
Liu Yi-hsiang C 200/110 29
Shun Jen-jen F 192/90 29
Lai Kuo-hong C 196/98 27
Hsu Yong-yi F 190/79 28
Chang Ya-tang F 192/88 25
Wu Yong-jen G 176/69 19
Hu Yu-wei F 190/82 18
Ker Hong-yao F 193/88 18
Hsu Chen-wen C 195/105 18
Head Coach: Chiu Da-tsun

■Kuwait NT
Ahmad Al-Muttiry G 188/98
Hamad Al-Othman F 183/75
Humod Al-Hajras C 186/90
Eid Al-Shamary C 190/85
Haitham Batoon F 190/105
Khaled Al-Hajras C 198/135
Hesham Al-Myal G 189/89
Sager Hassan G 181/70
Abdoula Al-Saraf F 190/75
Hamad Al-Shamaty F 190/77
Abdulrahman Helal C 198/105
Osama Al-farhan G 188/87
Head Coach: Mohamed Al-Badar
Assistant: Fiasal Bu Resly

■Philippines (St.Francis of Assisi College)
John Adrimesen G 172/85
Donald Delfin F 187/90
Nizar Kiram F 195/105
Roy Billanes F 185/82
Ranidel De Ocampo F 195/95
Yancy De Ocampo C 203/105
Lyndon Abian G 180/82
Rudy Espino G 182/84
Jumar Punzalan F 190/105
Lawrence Bonus C 198/102
Ervin Sotto C/F 200/102
Al Vergarda G 170/82
Coach: Gabriel Luis Velasco
(Note – Weight for Philippines player is highly suspicious, don’t count on it)

Day 1 & 2: Home Teams Dominate

Taiwan NT and SINA did not disappoint the home crowd in the first two days action of the YES 4-Nations Invitational Tournament, both sinking visitors Kuwait and Philippines and winning two straight to sit atop the standing. Both home teams are already expected to finish first and second in the tournament.

After cruising by Kuwait, Taiwan NT faced a challenging Philippines team. Led by SF Shan Wei-fan’s three consecutive jumpers, Taiwan NT regained their momentum in the second half and finally pulled away for the hard-fought win.

The game brought back memories of the 1999 Jones Cup bench-clearing brawl between Taiwan NT and Philippines’ Iloilo Megavoltz (MBA), when Philippines’ guard Rudy Espino sacked Ho Sho-jen to the floor and was ejected in the last minute. Ervin Sotto also committed a flagrant foul earlier in the second half when he intentionally pushed Tseng Wen-din, who was finishing a fast-break dunk, from the back. Espino drew a loud boos from the crowd after the injection.

Focusing on the preparation for the upcoming ABC Championship, Taiwan NT head coach Lee Yun-kwang spread playing times among all players, with no one playing more than 20 minutes in two games, except Tseng Wen-din and Tien Lei in the first game. 17 year-old center Tseng shows great improvement since returning from East Asia Games, coming up with his best game so far in Game 1 (21p+13rb+2blk). Tseng, who will only be a high school senior next year, probabably is already the best high-post center in Taiwan. Keep your eyes on this young man. If he keeps adding bulk and developing inside moves, he will have a chance to be the starting center on the national team for the next 10 years.

SG Lo Shin-liang have been SINA’s most reliable scorer, averaging 22.5 points in two wins. It will take more than Lo alone if SINA wants to beat the national team and wins the tournament.

Led by talented 203cm center Yancy De Ocampo, Philippines showed great competitiveness throughout two games, but could not make the last push in the closing minutes and ended up losing both games.

Obviously, Kuwait was the weakest among four teams, although 18 year-old Abdoula Al-Saraf, who’s the leading scorer in last year’s ABC Junior Championship, was sometimes brilliant. Without height advantage and consistent perimeter shooting, Kuwait’s 18.5PPG losing margin in the first two games is no surprise. Kuwait, which like Taiwan is going thru a rebuilding period on NT level, is far from competitive compared with the rest of the Asian countries. A top 6 finish in the upcoming ABC Championship seems out of reach.

■Game Summary
(July 9)
SINA 70-63 Philippines (34-39)
SINA – Lo Shin-liang 18p+3a ; Huang Chun-hsiung 11p+7rb ; Hsiung Jen-jen 9p+6rb+3s ; Wu Yong-jen 7p ; Lai Kuo-hong 6p+7rb
PHI – R. De Ocampo 18p ; Y. De Ocampo 11p+10rb

Taiwan 97-69 Kuwait (49-30)
TAI – Tseng Wen-din 21p+13rb+2blk ; Yang Yu-min 12p ; Tien Lei 10p+3a+3s ; Shan Wei-fan 9p ; Lee Chi-yi 7p ; Wu Dai-hao 7p+6rb+2blk
KUW – A. Al-Saraf 15p+5rb ; O. Al-Farhan 14p+8rb ; A. Al-Muttiry 9p+5rb+6s

(July 10)
SINA 76-67 Kuwait (44-35)
SINA – Lo Shin-liang 27p (3-6 3PT)+5s ; Lai Kuo-hong 12p+7rb ; Huang Chun-hsiung 8p+11rb+2blk ; Hu Yu-wei 8p
KUW – A. Al-Saraf 19p+3s ; A. Helal 14p+8rb ; O. Al-Farhan 12p

Taiwan 84-73 Philippines (40-40)
TAI – Shan Wei-fan 11p+6rb ; Yang Yu-min 11p ; Chiu Chi-yi 10p ; Tseng Wen-din 9p+7rb+3s ; Lee Chi-yi 9p+5rb ; Chou Hong-yu 9p ; Tien Lei 6p(3-11 FG)+2s
PHI – Y. De Ocampo 23p+7rb+4s+3blk ; E. Sotto 14p ; A. Vergarda 12p ; R. De Ocampo 10p+3a

■Standings
Taiwan 2-0
SINA 2-0
Philippines 0-2
Kuwait 0-2

4-Nations Notes: Updated Schedule

Saudi Out, SINA In
Saudi Arabia pulled out of the tournament in the last minute due to unknown reason and was replaced by local A-League team SINA.

Updated Schedule
July 9 – 1800 Philippines vs. SINA ; 2000 Kuwait vs. Taiwan
July 10 – 1800 SINA vs. Kuwait ; 2000 Taiwan vs. Philippines
July 11 – 1800 Kuwait vs. Philippines ; 2000 SINA vs. Taiwan
July 13 – 1800 SINA vs. Kuwait ; 2000 Taiwan vs. Philippines
July 14 – 1800 Philippines vs. SINA ; Kuwait vs. Taiwan
July 15 – 1800 Philippines vs. Kuwait ; 2000 Taiwan vs. SINA

Tien Lei to Play SF
New Taiwan NT head coach Lee Yun-kwang decided to move 18-year-old phenom Tien Lei from PF to SF, after Chen Hsin-an dropped out of NT because of eye injury. Lee insisted on the move, in order to make the Taiwanese NT a faster team and a taller lineup. Tien’s outside shooting has improved dramatically since the move was made. He buried three three-pointers in limited minutes in a warm-up game vs. SINA last week. Tien will benefited from the move as he can utilize his quickness, long arms and height to humiliate most Asian small forwards.

4 Nations May Left with Three…Or Two

4-Nations Invitational Tournament is in danger of losing Saudi Arabia, and maybe Philippines, and becomes a two-team tournament. CTBA is working rigorously to make sure all participants arrive on time.

Saudi Arabia NT told CTBA yesterday through agency that they couldn’t book the flight tickets from Taipei through Bangkok to Shanghai, where the ABC Championship is held. Not wanting to miss the ABC Championship, Saudi Arabia will fly directly to Shanghai and therefore pulling out of the 4-Nations Tournament. It’s said that because Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are in the same group in ABC Championship, Saudi Arabia doesn’t want to face Kuwait prior to the games.

CTBA also shows concerns about the Philippines, which hasn’t confirmed the participating team.

If Saudi Arabia pulls out, CTBA will either replace Saudi Arabia with Taiwanese All-Stars or make the tourney a three-team tournament. If the field is left with only two teams, Taiwan NT and Kuwait, the tourney will probably become an one-on-one series.

4-Nations Invitational Schedule Released

Taiwan NT will start its final stage of preparation for the upcoming ABC Championship when “YES 4-Nations Invitational Tournament” tips off on July 9. The tournament features four nations, including Taiwan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Philippines. Aside from Philippines’ college all-star team, the other three national teams are expected to head for Shanghai with the same roster. The tournament receives sponsorship from local mineral water company YES.

■4-Nations Tournament Facts and Schedules
Date: July 9 – July 15
Venue: Taipei County Gymnasium, Panchiao, Taipei County
Teams: Taiwan NT, Kuwait NT, Saudi Arabia NT, Philippines College All-Stars
Format: Double round robin

Schedules:
July 9 – 1800 Philippines – Saudi Arabia, 2000 Kuwait – Taiwan
July 10 – 1800 Saudi Arabia – Kuwait, 2000 Taiwan – Philippines
July 11 – Kuwait – Philippines, Saudi Arabia – Taiwan
(First round robin ends)
July 13 – 1800 #1 – #3, 2000 #2 – #4
July 14 – 1800 #4 – #1, 2000 #3 – #2
July 15 – 1800 #3 – #4, 2000 #1 – #2