Hong Kong basketball star Glen Yang outscored Jeremy Lin in his Taiwanese P League+ debut, but could not stop Kaohsiung 17Live Steelers from losing 92-81 to the New Taipei Kings at home on Sunday.
A surprise starter, the 27-year-old Yang wasted no time introducing himself to local fans, chipping in 10 points in the first quarter to give the hosts a 29-27 lead.
The Kings, however, never looked back after taking the lead early in the second quarter, and Yang, having notched up five personal fouls in the first half, was ejected in the final few minutes and admitted he needs to "learn" about the referees' calls.
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"The Kings have a lot of experienced players who know how to draw a foul, I still need time to adapt," said the former Bay Area Dragons guard, who finished with 18 points, seven rebounds, six assists and three steals.
"It was a solid first game, showing a little bit of everything I can do out there. The seven turnovers are partly on me trying to make some big plays but also partly on just not having the full chemistry yet with my teammates.
"I need to try improving my three-point shot and playing the fast-paced game with my teammates, while also working on my Mandarin to improve the chemistry with them."
Having played in Hong Kong, Spain, the Philippines, and Canada as well as the East Asia Super League, the Canadian-Chinese guard said the Taiwanese game was "high octane".
"It's very fast-paced, I wouldn't say it's as physical as the PBA [Philippines Basketball Association] or Canada," he said. "But the shooting level is high and the speed is up there, it's run-and-gun style with many skilled players."
Playing competitively at the Fengshan Arena for the first time since he left the Steelers in July, Lin was not his usual self.
The former NBA sensation had 16 points, on 4 of 13 shooting, and finished with seven rebounds, two assists and four turnovers, but Yang said matching up with the former NBA champion was "a dream come true and goal accomplished".
"I told him he was an inspiration to Asian basketball players and felt honoured to compete with him," Yang said. "He's a legend to still play at this level at 35."
Despite the team's fourth loss in five games, Steelers chief Chiu Ta-Tsung saw the positives in Yang and lauded his abilities on the court.
"Yang showed his individual ability and repaid the faith put in him by the coaching staff," the 59-year-old head coach said. "He did extremely well linking up the team."
Chiu also hinted at giving the Mount Royal University graduate more game time after Yang arrived on the team only during the preseason in November.
"He came after our system was established, so we are not hiding him," he said. "Yang trained hard and well every day, and he was confident to guard the Lin brothers, so we put him in the starting line-up."
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This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (www.scmp.com), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia.
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