Despite losing to Taiwan Beer Wednesday night, KKL was competitive the whole game. Shawn Hawkins seems to be finding his footing (and his jumpshot) and they are falling into a nice rhythm. The positive results continued on Friday night as KKL beat Taiwan Mobile to move out of the cellar.
In the other game on Friday Pure Youth pulled out a close game against Dacin in a battle between 2nd and 3rd place teams. Jones-Jennings had another massive game with 22 points and 25 rebounds. This guy really deserves a bigger contract in the future.
Japan - In JBL news, Aishin came away with the Emperor's Cup title. Regularly season action now finally resumes this week. In less positive news, the JBL has taken over the Hokkaido-based Rera Kamuy franchise after the team's ownership failed to pay multiple league fees and broke numerous league policies. They have fired coach Joe Bryant as part of the restructuring as well (aka cost cutting measures). In my opinion, this opens the door for the bj-league to enter into the Hokkaido market. As Niigata has shown, a team that struggled financially in the JBL can operate successfully in the bj-league.
The bj-league All-Star Game is this weekend. Hopefully I can put up highlights from the game soon.
Korea - As I predicted a few weeks back the the Samsung Thunder are making a push to join the group of teams at the top of the league standings. After a tough overtime loss to KCC Egis, Samsung has pulled off three wins a row, including a 15 point victory over 1st place Sonic Boom KT. With Aaron Haynes' continued all-around superb play, Samsung looks to make the league a four team race.
Philippines - Game one of the PBA Philippines Cup is tonight as the Beermen take on the Texters for the title. The teams split their two meetings earlier this year. The teams both field a balanced attack with multiple players capable of exploding for big games. Should be a fun series to watch!
ASEAN - Semi-Finals action this weekend. I am excited to watch the Patriots (and one of my favorites Gabe Freeman) take on the Dragons. The Dragons have an interior-focused offense now while the Patriots play a fast-paced style. It should be an interesting contrast.
CHINA - Is it weird that I was more excited to watch Lester Hudson play in China than I am to watch Rafer Alston? Hudson is averaging 23.3 ppg in his first three games, and Guangdong has won two of those games. Looks like Chinese teams are starting to figure out which kind of import is successful in their league.