The Taipei Fubon Braves hoisted the first championship trophy in P.LEAGUE+ professional basketball league on their home court Thursday, at a ceremony that had been delayed for six months because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
After the six-month wait, Braves General Manager Chris Tsai (???) accepted the 2020-2021 season championship trophy, and captain Tsai Wen-cheng (???) lifted it high in the air, to cheers by the specially invited guests at the Taipei Heping Basketball Gymnasium.
The trophy was presented by P.LEAGUE+ founder and CEO Blackie Chen (???), marking the formal end of the league's inaugural season, which was cut short in May because of a surge in domestic COVID-19 cases in Taiwan.
The Braves were declared P.LEAGUE+ first champions on May 18, three days after a stellar 115-90 performance against the Formosa Taishin Dreamers in Game 4 of the best-of-seven finals at Changhua County Stadium, and as the scheduled Game 5 had been canceled. At the time, the Taipei team had a 3-1 lead and were technically one win away from the title.
With the nation under a Level 3 COVID-19 alert, the championship ceremony was also postponed for an indefinite period.
At Thursday's ceremony, Tsai Wen-cheng said he hoped to see fans and the media in the arena next year, particularly if his team repeated their win.
"It will make for a more festive atmosphere," he said.
Meanwhile, Braves head coach Hsu Chin-che (???) said he is preparing for the next season and has enlisted Maltese Samuel Deguara, a former former ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) center who stands 230 cm tall and will play in the paint.
"There is not one local player who can hold him down, and even 200 cm-tall foreign import players may find it difficult to guard him," Hsu said.
Deguara, who is making his debut in the P.LEAGUE+, told CNA that he is excited to be in Taiwan, and all the practices have been going well.
"Having played for Thai and Hong Kong teams, I have been to Taiwan to play against Taiwanese teams a number of times," he said. "The atmosphere is really amazing here."
During his time in the ABL, Deguara was known as one of the top players, averaging 21.6 points, 14.3 rebounds, and 2.3 blocked shots with the Mono Vampire in 2018.
The 2021-2022 season of P.LEAGUE+ will tip off next month, with six teams competing, starting with a showdown between the Braves and the Dreamers in Taipei on Dec. 3.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel