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BASKETBALL/Leopards' point guard returns home to Taichung with five year contract

07/02/2024 06:27 PM
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New Formosan Dreamer point guard Chiang Yu-an. CNA file photo
New Formosan Dreamer point guard Chiang Yu-an. CNA file photo

Taipei, July 2 (CNA) Former Taoyuan-based Taiwan Beer Leopards point guard Chiang Yu-an (蔣淯安) on Tuesday signed a five-year contract with the Formosa Dreamers, bringing the popular free-agent back to his hometown of Taichung.

Through a public statement released by the Dreamers, Chiang said he aims to win the Taichung team its first championship in the upcoming professional league that will be created after the nation's six-team P.LEAGUE+ and five-team T1 LEAGUE (T1) are consolidated.

Chiang said he was drawn to the Dreamers as a team with immense potential, adding that being close to family was another key factor behind his decision.

He said he struggled with the idea of a change of environment, but eventually settled on the decision out of a desire to give back to the community where he learned to play.

"From childhood to university, I was in Taichung," Chiang said. "I am returning now to give back to the city, and I think the best way to do that is to help Taichung win its first championship."

On the prospect of partnering up with the Dreamers' incumbent point guard Lin Chun-chi (林俊吉), Chiang said he looks forward to team ups on the court.

"Watching Chi (Lin) play is like watching a more talented version of my past self," Chiang added.

On the upcoming merger of Taiwan's two professional basketball leagues, the new Dreamer said the inaugural season will be very different, which is why he is "looking forward to the sparks generated between different teams on the court."

Speaking on the addition of Chiang, the Dreamers' general manager Han Chun-kai (韓駿鎧) said the former Leopard is one of the top basketball players in Taiwan.

Even more valuable is Chiang's team player work ethic, Han said, adding that the player's underdog rise to stardom matched the culture and spirit of the Dreamers.

"(We) look forward to advancing towards the goal of a championship in the future together," Han said.

Chiang Yu-an in 2024 when he played for the Taiwan Beer Leopards. CNA file photo
Chiang Yu-an in 2024 when he played for the Taiwan Beer Leopards. CNA file photo

Chiang began his career playing for the Taiwan Beer basketball team in the nation's men's developmental basketball league Super Basketball League.

He went on to play for the same company's professional division in T1, with the now defunct Taiwan Beer Hero Bears, before joining the new consolidated team the that is the Taiwan Beer Leopards.

Alongside former four-time NBA all-star DeMarcus Cousins, Chiang was one of the pivotal figures who helped the Taoyuan Beer Leopards win the 2023-2024 T1 championship, garnering him a reputation as one of Taiwan's most valuable point guards.

(By Chen Jung-chen and James Lo)

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