The 2011 Jones Cup is one of the final tests for the SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national team as they gear up for the 2011 FIBA-Asia Championship in Wuhan, China in September, where a slot for the 2012 London Olympics is at stake. InterAKTV breaks down each opponent for the Philippine team in the Tapei tournament.
One of the concerns of former NBA coach and current Chinese Taipei technical consultant Bob Hill is that the national team players who play overseas have not seen much practice time with the national team.
Some of their best players, including star swingman Lin Chih Chieh, play outside the country. But if they can ever get their key pieces on court together, they look to be a dangerous team.
The 6-foot-3 Lin is their first option, scoring 18.4 points to go with 5 rebounds and 1.8 assists in Guangzhou last year. Another likely contributor would be Jet Chang (Tsung-Hsien), a guard who plays for BYU-Hawaii in the US NCAA Division II. The 22-year-old Chang topscored for the team in Tianjin in 2009, posting an average of 11.9 points in just 17 minutes per game.
Another US-based player, Shawn Chou (Yi-Hsian) could prove to be a factor for Chinese Taipei. The 6-foot-4 forward is a freshman at Salt Lake Community College.
6-foot-8 forward-center Tseng Wen-Ting, who averaged 10.4 points and 4.7 rebounds in the 09 FIBA tilt, should anchor the frontcourt while 5-9 point guard Lee Hsueh-Lin will be an important figure in the Taiwan backcourt. Lee posted a well-rounded line of 9.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists in the Asian Games last year despite his size.
All five of the players mentioned are based overseas. Lin and Lee both play in China, Chang and Chou are in the US and Tseng plays pro ball in Japan. None of them represented the team in the East Asian Basketball Championships last June, where they forced to send a B-team and still placed fourth.
For the William Jones Cup, though, they are all expected to suit up but though team will miss the services of 6-foot-8 power forward Tien Lei, who was their second leading scorer in both the FIBA Asia Championship and the Asian Games. Tien is a multiple-time scoring champion in the Taiwanese Super Basketball League.
Taiwan also targeted the services of Golden State Warriors guard Jeremy Lin for the tournament in Wuhan later this year, but the former Harvard star was advised against it by the Warriors medical team as Lin is nursing a knee injury.
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