After four fruitful Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) seasons dating back to 2014, Tien Lei will be making a return back to Taiwan and is arguably the Formosa Dreamers’ biggest addition during their active offseason.
Though he is already a 35-year-old veteran, Tian’s interest in returning back to Taiwan attracted several Super Basketball League (SBL) teams to inquire about his services in potential signings. However, the Dreamers’ interest in signing him since early 2018 helped push the deal forward as Tien eventually inked an official deal with the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) team in September.
“I’m just happy to be joining the Dreamers and being able to play alongside my ex-teammates,” Tian said on signing with his newest team.
“The ABL is a very challenging league. Every team has some very good players, so I’m definitely excited to play in this league.”
As for playing with those ex-teammates that he eluded to, the 6’8” power forward was referring to Lee Hsueh Lin and Chn Shih Nien, who are also two new additions to the team. In the past, the three played for Chinese Taipei in several international tournaments during their prime days.
“I didn’t really have a chance to play alongside them aside from international tournaments and now that we have all joined the Dreamers, I’m looking forward to reconnect with them on the court and produce something good for the team,” Tien added.
The team’s new head coach, Dean Murray, acknowledges the importance of Lee to the team, citing his valuable leadership for the team ever since he took over the job: “Hsueh Lin has been a very reliable leader for the team. I hope he can continue to embrace the role.”
After a disappointing debut season in 2017-2018, the Dreamers have vowed to come back stronger in their sophomore campaign, aiming for the playoffs as the upcoming season’s target. Both Lei and Murray are optimistic of reaching their team’s goal, ready to fight for a playoff spot after months of preseason training.
“We have really good morale now and we are constantly encouraging and motivating each other,” the American head coach stated on the mentality of the current team after winning a pocket tournament in Hua Lien, Taiwan.
Tian double-downed on what his new coach had to say regarding the team’s chemistry, and how it has been great so far, adding, “I think we have a very balanced team, and our overall chemistry is good; all of us really want to achieve our goal, which is the playoffs.”
As a well-known stretch forward with an impressive resume, Tian stressed that his mindset going into the season is mainly to help the team achieve their big goal and that he won’t allow any of his personal goals to distract him at the moment.
“My personal objective is simple: establish a better brotherhood and chemistry with my teammates, and win games for the team. That’s my current mindset,” Tian emphasized.
As the Dreamers near their first seasonal game, Murray hasn’t shied away from openly sharing about how he wants his team to play in the new season.
“We will be as tough as anyone on the defensive end and will be very aggressive and fast on the offensive, but I do want my players to be able to play good half-court offense when necessary.”
Additionally, the experienced coach also mentioned that the team will be looking forward to the performances of Malcolm Miller. “Malcolm works extremely hard in the practices. We certainly hope he can excel in his rookie ABL season,” Murray closed.
The Formosa Dreamers will play their seasonal opener against the Singapore Slingers on November 18 at OCBC Arena in Singapore.