TAICHUNG - The Singapore Slingers were hit by a familiar force of nature as they lost 88-77 to Formosa Dreamers in an Asean Basketball League (ABL) match at the Changhua Stadium on Sunday (Jan 5).
Former Slinger Jerran Young - whose first name resembles Jay Chou's mandarin name Jie Lun - was introduced by the stadium announcer to the strains of Chou's 2000 hit Tornado, and he caused heavy damage with 21 points, nine rebounds, six assists and five steals.
The 28-year-old American forward also showed what the Slingers could miss this season with his pace, aggression, high energy levels and playmaking abilities.
Young, who signed his first pro contract with the Slingers last season, told The Straits Times after the win: "Having played for the Slingers last season, I have an understanding of how they play and what their defensive principles are, which I can share with my team.
"I have no hard feelings about not being retained by the Slingers. It's a business and such things happen when teams decide they want change.
"I'm thankful to be part of the Dreamers organisation now... it feels like home and it is good to have a theme song by a famous Taiwanese singer. I'm happy, and it feels good winning against my old team. I just tried to do everything I can to stop them."
The Dreamers got off to a strong start and led 14-7 in the first quarter, but were pegged back by the Slingers by half-time, with Marcus Elliott impressing with 13 points and four rebounds in the second quarter alone.
The visitors were up 51-43 midway through the third quarter, but were torn apart after the other two Dreamers import Anthony Tucker (14 points, seven assists) and Jordan Tolbert came alive (19 points, 14 rebounds). They were ably backed up by local veteran Yang Chin-min (16 points, eight rebounds).
Young's go-ahead three-pointer made it 59-56 for the hosts, the Dreamers never looked back as they claimed their third win after eight games to move up to sixth place in the 10-team ABL.
Taiwanese celebrity Blackie Chen, one of the Dreamers owners, said: "Jerran is an athlete with a humble attitude that is hard to come by.
"The Slingers' loss is definitely our gain as Jerran is turning out to be one of the league's best offensive players with us. I hope this will be the start of a long-term relationship."
Meanwhile, after seeing his Slingers side slip to eighth with their third defeat in four games, coach Neo Beng Siang said he will ring in the changes ahead of their next game against Saigon Heat at the OCBC Arena on Wednesday.
He added: "We started pretty well but I'm concerned with how we fell apart in the second half. We didn't execute our offence well, we held the ball for too long and then forced the shots when the shot clock ran down.
"And when we couldn't make the shots count, the opponents did well to spread our defence. We know Jerran is a very athletic player, but the defeat was no just down to him. They came out strong in the second half, and we didn't.
"It is my job now to make the necessary adjustments after this bad start to the season. It is still early in a long season, but the upcoming home game against Saigon Heat is a must-win for us to get our season back on track."