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Taiwanese team joins ABL

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--In a historic moment, the ABL officially welcomed a Taiwanese club, the Kaohsiung Truth.

Taiwan, known in the sporting world as Chinese Taipei due to ongoing sovereignty issues, will be represented in Southeast Asia's premier home-and-away pro basketball league despite being part of East Asia, although the Truth are not situated in the city of Taipei itself.

“Adding a team from outside of the Southeast Asia region is a step towards the right direction to further strengthen the sport of basketball,” said ABL's COO Jericho Ilagan in a statement on Sunday night.

Kaohsiung has become a sports hub like the Taiwanese capital starting with the hosting of the 2005 World Pool Championship, and the foundation of the Truth will further boost Kaohsiung's sports tourism.

However, helping Kaohsiung's sports tourism is not the only purpose of the formation of the Truth.

Jeff Joseph, the Truth's general manager, said that the club's main goal is to share the Gospel through basketball.

“We’ve been putting this project together for about a year with the realization that we can use the sport of basketball as a platform to tackle the issues related to the 10/40 window. Being accustomed to this beautiful country and having the basketball background that we do, we wanted to create opportunities to share God’s love with other countries and communities,” Joseph said.

Taiwan, the Philippines, and the Indochina region, where Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam are located, are parts of the 10/40 window composing of countries that have been restricting Christians from sharing God's Word there, although Taiwan and the Philippines are known for letting the Christians openly share the Gospel locally.

The moniker "Truth" came from the team's chief backer, The Truth Network, an American-based Christian radio station group.

Five players have already committed to play for Kaohsiung, namely James Tyler, Chris Oliver, Carlos Andrade, and Taiwan's national team prospects Wesley Hsu and Sabatino Chen. The remainder of the roster will likely come from local talents.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno
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