Pro basketball fans tune in to the NBA playoffs every April, May, and June, but this isn’t a typical year, and the league’s shutdown puts Taiwan’s SBL (Super Basketball League) in the spotlight.
The SBL championship series began on Tuesday at the Hao Yu Sports Center in New Taipei City. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the finals are being contested without spectators in the stands.
Game 1 result
The Yulon Dinos defeated top-seeded Taiwan Beer 88-83 in the opening game of the Taiwan’s Super Basketball League six-game championship series.
But due to SBL rules, the series is tied at 1-1. (As the regular-season’s best team, Taiwan Beer began the marquee event with an automatic 1-0 lead.)
Veteran forward Lu Cheng-Ju paced Yulon with a game-high 32 points. Point guard Marcus Keene, a Central Michigan product, delivered a stellar all-around effort with 25 points, five rebounds and five assists. Indian-Canadian big man Sim Bhullar, a 226-cm veteran who suited up for the Sacramento Kings in 2015, hauled in 13 rebounds to go along with six points in the winning effort. Teammate Douglas Creighton poured in 10 points.
The Dinos, who built a 41-35 lead by halftime, sank 15 of 36 3-pointers.
More details from Game 1
Taiwan Beer’s Igor Zaytsev, a Ukrainian forward, finished with 19 points and seven boards. Teammate Chiang Yu-An contributed 13 points, nine rebounds and seven helpers, while swingman Kentrell Barkley, an East Carolina University alum, provided 18 points. Chuo Po-Hsun nearly notched a double-double (nine points, eight rebounds).
Up next: Game 2 is set for Thursday night.
In the regular season, Taiwan Beer had a league-best 25-7 record.
The Yulon Dinos completed the campaign with a 16-16 won-loss mark, giving them the third-best record.
Despite the venue being off limits for fans, Eleven Sports Taiwan’s broadcast coverage of Taiwan’s SBL gives fans a chance to follow the action.
The Taiwanese broadcaster promoted its coverage of the event on social media.
Eleven Sports Taiwan tweeted: “WAKE UP!! #Basketball fans around the world!!!!! WE HAVE a #LIVE game coming up in 15 minutes!!!!!!!!!!”
Taiwan’s SBL history
Did you know that Taiwan’s SBL, which currently has five teams, is in its 17th season?
Taiwan Beer (2006-07, 2007-08, 2010-11 and 2015-16) and the Yulon Dinos (2003-04, 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2009-10) have both collected four championship trophies since the league’s inception.
Dinos pivot Bhullar made a big statement in the team’s playoff opener in mid-April, stuffing the stat sheet with 27 points and 25 rebounds.