Follow FIBA on Facebook
Chang Tsung-Hsein looks back at his FIBA Asia Cup debut and clash with Terrence Romeo
TAIPEI (Chinese Taipei) - Over the years in the FIBA Asia Cup, Chinese Taipei has produced some significant talents to be featured on the hardwood. Whether it is Lin Chih-Chieh, Tien Lei, or even the recent rise of prospects like Chen Ying-Chun, the list of stars from Chinese Taipei is spectacular.
Among those outstanding performers was Chang Tsung-Hsien, who commanded the spotlight at the biggest stage of Asian basketball even already at such a young age.
With the depth of the Chinese Taipei talent pool, it’s not easy for a 20-year-old kid to crack into consideration, let alone make the final roster. Yet here was Chang Tsung-Hsein, ready to make his debut at the FIBA Asia Cup 2009.
While it might seem like a lot of pressure to pile on a 20-year-old, Chang felt that it was quite the opposite in his case.
“Back in the day, I was like 20, so I was just doing my job to support the team,” Chang said. “Just doing what I could do to help the team. At that time there were a lot of veterans on the team but I was just a rookie, so there was no pressure on me and a lot pressure on them.”
Chang went straight to work on his debut game against the defending champions Iran and put in 10 points for what was nearly an upset. A couple days later, he scored 22 points in a blowout win against Uzbekistan. In another heart-breaker to one of Asia’s best teams, Chang scored 17 points in a two-point loss to Korea.
He wrapped up the tournament with a 15-point outing to beat Qatar and give Chinese Taipei a fifth place finish, then their highest ranking since the turn of the century.
Chang didn’t exactly see his FIBA Asia Cup debut panning out as it did, but there’s not doubt that he’s glad it did.
“Honestly, I didn’t expect that I would get to play,” Chang admitted. “I was just like happy to be on the team and when the coach first put me on the floor, I was surprised. So I just to went out there, had fun and did what I do.”
“Basically, I just try not to think too much, go with the flow, and let the game come to me.”
The game certainly came to Chang, who ended up leading the team in scoring with 11.9 points per game. Not bad for a 20-year-old rookie. Looking back, Chang cherishes the moments and experiences from playing with that team more than being the team's top scorer.
“I’m just very happy to play with the older guys,” Chang said. “I really look up to them and they really helped me a lot along the way to help me become the player I am today.”
The skilled scoring forward has since played professionally in China, the Philippines, and back to the Super Basketball League (SBL) in Chinese Taipei with the Fubon Braves. He’s had the golden opportunity to clash with many exceptional talents whether at the national team setting or in professional leagues. One clash in particular has stood out in his memories.
“Players I enjoyed playing against?” Chang said with a sigh, recalling all of his past encounters in his head. “I’ll probably say [Terrence] Romeo. When I was playing in the PBA [Philippines Basketball Association], I was looking at his stats. I was like ‘This guy, this local guy, he’s averaging like 23 points per game’ and I was surprised.”
Chang finally got to face off with Romeo in the 4th game of the season.
“My mentality was that I had to lock him up and lower his scoring total. He still had like  points and they won the game,” The 1.92M (6’4”) forward laughed. “But it was fun to go out and compete with the best.”
Chinese Taipei will soon be up to “go out and compete with the best” soon at the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers early in 2020. They have been draw in the same group as China, Malaysia, and Japan with the latter being highlighted by Chang as one of the biggest threats.
“Japan is really, really strong especially with their two NBA guys [Rui Hachimura and Yuta Watanabe] while another guy [Yudai Baba] is trying out for the NBA right now. It’s going to be a very tough game for Chinese Taipei to play against them.”