Priority for center Artino to be national team: Taiwan basketball

11/27/2021 07:21 PM
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William Artino (center). Photo taken from
William Artino (center). Photo taken from

Taipei, Nov. 27 (CNA) Taiwan's top basketball association made clear Friday that American center William Artino has been recruited primarily to play on the national team, and that any club wanting to sign him would have to respect that.

The 29-year-old 2.11-meter American center completed his naturalization procedures last month while overseas to be able to represent Taiwan in international competitions, according to the Chinese Taipei Basketball Association (CTBA).

He will soon arrive in Taiwan, and teams from Taiwan's two professional leagues, the T1 LEAGUE and the P. LEAGUE+, will almost certainly vie for his services at the club level.

Any contract with Artino to play for a team in either of the leagues, however, will have to be between Artino, the club, and the CTBA, and stipulate that priority will be given to the national team training and competition schedule, the CTBA said in a statement Friday.

The statement came at a time when Taiwan has had trouble getting some of its top players to play on the national team, in part because of their obligations to their clubs in professional leagues both in Taiwan or abroad.

The talent shortage was evident when Taiwan barely squeaked by Guam in a two-game playoff in August to earn a spot in the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup, nearly ending its streak of making every Asia Cup since 1985.

Played every two years until 2017, the Asia Cup is now held every four years but the 2021 tourney was pushed back to 2022 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Taiwan's performance in the Asia Cup qualifiers led the CTBA to renew its focus on the national team and push for more imported talent to beef up the national roster.

That urgency may have been behind the expedited nature of Artino's naturalization, as he did not have to meet the standard minimum residency requirement. He also did not have to give up his American citizenship.

Under the Nationality Act of Taiwan, one of the mandatory conditions for a foreign national in applying for naturalization is legal residency in the country for at least five consecutive years, during which they must have stayed for more than 183 days each year.

The CTBA will arrange for Artino to arrive in Taiwan soon and represent the country's national basketball team in February 2022 when it plays its first qualifying games for the 2023 FIBA World Cup against Australia, Japan and China, the association said.

The seasoned veteran has played in Taiwan before, when he starred for the Formosa Dreamers in the ASEAN Basketball League in the 2018-2019 season, averaging 20.6 points and 10.7 rebounds a game.

He also played professionally in Estonia, Denmark, and Romania after finishing his college career at Creighton in 2015 and spent the 2020-2021 season in Mexico's top professional league with Panteras de Aguascalientes, where he averaged 17.4 points and 8.8 rebounds a game.

(By William Yen)


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