Strickland leads Winnerway to title
American Wayman Strickland can lay claim to being the undisputed top player in the history of the Super Commercial Cup after celebrating his sixth straight title at the event yesterday.
Strickland also received his fourth MVP award after leading Winnerway to a one-sided, 95-74 triumph against Winling in front of about 2,000 spectators at Southorn Stadium.
'I think what I achieved is better than Michael Jordan,' joked Strickland, referring to the fact that the NBA legend clinched six championship rings, but in two separate periods.
The 29-year-old Strickland captured the first of three titles with Regal (formerly Energy) from 1995-97 and the following three with Winling, Wide Way Textiles and Winnerway, respectively.
He said he was worried about their chances before the event started as Winnerway, who finished third in the Chinese Division A League this season, only fielded two foreign players - him and Jason Dixon - while other teams were allowed to recruit three.
'This is a good accomplishment for me this year because we have fewer [foreign players]. In the first three years, no other team could match us [Regal] because we played very well together for a long time. We are in a different situation this year because we aren't coached by Cheung [Tai-wing - Regal's and Hong Kong's current national coach].' Strickland paid tribute to Dixon and Winnerway's depth of players.
'We played good defence and good team concept, thanks to a depth of young players in the team. Dixon did a good job on rebounds, both in defence and attack.' 'I just played the way I play. I played pretty well, especially the last game where I ensured that my teammates and I got good shots,' he said.
As for his MVP title, Strickland insisted it came second to the team.
'I didn't win the MVP title last year but we won. The title is the most important thing for me.' And he said chances were high that he will return for the tournament next year and his top priority was to play for Regal [Energy]. Energy decided not to compete in the tournament two years ago for commercial reasons.
Winling's Calvin Talford, who scored 108 points in four matches, received the best shooter award.
In the third-place play-off, Hong Kong All-Stars came back from 42-44 at half-time to defeat Fukien 82-78.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong Basketball Association chairman Norman Chan Sui-tim admitted attendance did not live up to his expectations and pledged to attract more commercial teams next year.
The Super Commercial Cup used to be the highlight of the season, featuring top teams from the region, including Energy, the Chinese national team, Korean national team and Ukraine national team in past years. But it was affected by the Asian economic crisis and now features only second-tier foreign teams.