Tri-State InvAsian 67, 16 Minute Men 37
Second in 3-Part Series: 16 Minutes of Fame
Ray could not act his way out of a paper bag.
May 20 I’ve been back from my escape to exile for a couple days now. Where I was should be of no concern to anyone. Let’s just say that I had some money socked away for awhile and I needed to unload it somewhere.
The guys are getting together tonight for a night out on the town. I’ve been invited to tag along.
This is no Boy's Night Out however, the spouses and significant others are in tow and so just call me the 11th wheel tonight. Why wasn’t I informed?
Of course, Misty still isn’t speaking to me, so I guess it doesn’t matter.
Ray has shown up tonight, but only because they’ve chosen a spot on 71st and Columbus. He brings his wife. Mun is present too, with pregnant wife by side. And three others – Kenny, Eddie, and Hoe Liu are also able to make it out – each with a lady specimen accompanying them.
We sit down to eat at a Middle Eastern joint called Pasha and after eating Sumo burgers and quail meat, the players and their wives start to talk about seemingly everything under the sun.
Mun’s wife says to me, “You look familiar. Do I know you from somewhere?”
As I shake my head, Mrs. Lieu brings up the topic of the electric car.
“Who killed it? Ray and I were so looking forward to getting one. He’s so environmentally conscious; we were even considering getting two!”
“I don’t know,” says Hoe, “but I think Michael Moore is making a movie about it. Or someone like Michael Moore.”
“Oh! Speaking of movie, you guys up for seeing one tonight? I still haven’t seen DaVinci Code,” says the female with Eddie.
Incredulous looks abound in her direction.
“I really like Code Red by Mountain Dew.”
“Do you guys wear jock straps? You know, the cup?”
“The World Cup is coming. I love it when it rolls around. K-town is off the hook.”
“Can you believe that North Korean government? Missile testing? C’mon!”
Like I said, everything under the sun.
I’m not sure I’m having the time of my life, but as I sit listening to these people speak before me, little by little, I’m figuring these guys out.
It seems to me, they’re just people. A startling revelation, I know.
Regular, normal people who sit around, drink beer, eat food, talk about the world’s topics. Basketball right now seems so far away. 16MM, and the people around them, don’t eat, sleep, and breathe the game the way many other players around the League do.
The way I do.
The night progresses, we wind up watching a French action flick called District B13 (great film, btw) that the women don’t seem to particularly like when the main star – a handsome fellow named David Belle – isn’t on the screen.
As the movie lets out just a bit before midnight, yawns surround me from all the guys. You can see it in their eyes – they are tired and just want to go home.
I shake their hands, blow air kisses to the ladies, and make my way towards the 2, 3 line.
I wonder if these guys ever talk about, or play basketball, when not engaged in a Dream League game. Tonight, someone brought up the jock strap, but that was the closest it got.
I don’t know anybody who wears a cup to play basketball. Do you? I think it’s a baseball/football thing.
May 25 This coming weekend is Memorial Day. Though the Commish has asked me to stay with these guys for a whole month, we decide that this coming weekend, we’re going to take a break from each other. Everybody has plans with their girl to get out of town. I can’t follow everyone to where they’re going. Though Kenny offers me an invitation to go with him to his in-law’s place in western Pennsylvania.
I politely decline and instead want to get back to what me and the fellas are partaking in at the moment – bikram yoga.
Allan’s fiancé is a yoga instructor and she suggested to us earlier in the week that we might want to try it out as a group activity. While I was reluctant at first, after getting there and seeing all the hot women who were in the class, I suddenly found myself excited to be there.
Co Bahn plays quarterback for Tri-State.
However, because the rules of the class mandate that beginners must stay together in the back of the class, I soon found myself in the middle of Allan, Kenny, Eddie, Kin, and Wong. Most of the class was spent contorted into different excruciating positions that kept Kenny’s right and Kin’s left butt checks smothered in my face.
My hopes of getting right next to the cutie with the tattoo on her shoulder sank quickly.
I hear that in yoga classes, you’ll often hear farts that accidentally slip out when bent at the hip, so I have to say that I’m thankful that neither Kenny nor Kin left that happen.
I escape class beat, soaked in sweat, and forgetting there were even women in the room.
No one told me bikram meant turning the temperature up to 105 degrees! That’s inhumane!
For the most part, hanging with 16MM has meant doing low-risk to your health stuff. These guys move slowly and are adverse to danger. But this! This makes me rethink whether this is all really worth it.
It’s 8:30 by the time we get out of the showers. We grab a bite at this health food joint and call it an evening.
Not one word of basketball has passed in conversation. Amazing.
June 1 This is the first time everyone is touching a basketball since their last game against Moe’s.
At least tonight, 16MM has 6 players, so they actually have a bench! The lay-up line actually looks half decent. Well, it could look decent I should say. Only Mun is doing lay-ups while everyone else is shooting shots they’ll never take in the game. Why Ray is throwing up 25 footers is anyone’s guess.
The opponent is the Tri-State InvAsian – one of the NL’s better teams this season. Considering 16MM is 0-8, and just coming off a 35 point loss to the top team in the League – Homecrest – the goal here tonight is simply to play hard, play proud, and not lose by more than 30.
At least that’s what Wong told me yesterday when he took me out to the horse tracks in Long Island. Honestly, I don’t think that guy actually has a day job.
In the pre-game huddle, which I am privy to, I ask Ray what’s with taking 30 footers when he should be practicing his post moves.
“You think I’m going to score in the game? That’s nice. Hey man, I work for a voice-over internet phone company. I like dialing in from long distance,” he says with a wink as he turns to take the floor.
7:45pm It’s halftime and Tri-State is up 28-13. So far, so good.
“Man, those guys were not this good when I was on that team,” Ray pants as he searches for something drink.
OH! Get Wong a jersey! And get off of me!
That’s right - Ray and Gin are former member of TSIV. When Andre Liu compiled a group of men to play in the formative seasons of DL, the Carnegie Mellon boys were part of the mix. In the fall of 2004, Tri finished 5-2 as Ray averaged 4.2 points and over 6 rebounds a game and Gin routinely threw down pre-game warm up dunks.
Those memories seemed a long time ago.
“I can barely touch the rim now,” Gin says forlornly.
Andre’s current team meanwhile looks fantastic. In particular, Dave Wong, who is leading the League in scoring, already has 12 1st half points. Jiang Yu is working away inside and doing something he rarely does – handing out assists.
He is known as the Yinka Dare of the League (man who recorded 1 assist his entire professional career – or something like that). But against 16MM, he’s quickly losing that tag.
These things tend to happen when you play 16MM.
Wong is having a particularly difficult night as he opens 0-6 from the floor. Mun is only good on 1 of his 7 3-point attempts. Right now, Kenny is leading the guys with 5 points. He’s only averaging around 2 points a game on the season. Maybe the yoga helped him limber up.
The 2nd half is not much better than the 1st.
Jiang scores 6 points on 3-3 attempts in the 3rd against no defense inside. Ray – 16MM’s beef – is caught outside on several of the plays. Is he thinking he’s going to dial up from outside while on defense?
Hoe is the only guy for 16MM who scores anything in the 3rd. He puts on a nice individual display with 9 points while everyone else goes 0-8. The margin drops to 43-22.
Don’t lose by more than 30…
8:11pm Tri-State goes hog wild in the 4th, putting up their biggest quarter. Swishy Rassiwalla ices 6 and Dave takes no pity in going for 11 in the frame alone. Dave finishes with 26 points and 7 boards. Jiang has a career game with 14 points, 13 boards, 4 assists, and 4 steals. The assists and steals amount for him are staggering. Albert Oh finishes with 8 points and hands out 6 dimes. Against 16MM – many folks numbers get inflated.
Around the League, guys see this game on their schedule and look to use it as time to pump themselves up on paper. When stats are recorded and publicized, it’s the nature of the beast.
Though Tri scores 25 in the 4th, everyone on 16MM comes to life a bit and they put up their biggest quarter as well with 15.
The guys make their living at the free throw line with 6/10 – not a bad showing from there at all.
Mun is noticeably missing in the 2nd half. He’s pulled his hamstring somewhere in the 2nd quarter and sits out much of the 2nd half. He doesn’t even attempt a single shot when he is in there.
Hoe goes at Andre. The Liu's were not separated at birth despite popular belief.
16MM goes on to lose 67-37 in the end. They hit their goal! Don’t lose by more than 30. No one said anything about losing by 30.
It’s hardly reason to celebrate, but Hoe (12 points, 7 boards, 2 steals) and Kenny (season high 9 points, 6 boards, and 4 steals) will take it. Small, moral victories this season are what it’s all about.
Wong is angry at himself for a stinker he just put out there. He shot 1 of 10 for just 2 points. He is the team’s 2nd leading scorer and this is simply unacceptable.
I’ve become closest with Wong since he is the captain of the team, I’ve been over to his place, and his is the only number of all the guy’s I have.
Usually, he’ll give me some soundbytes or opinions on something before telling me about the next event we can meet at. But now, as Ray is still searching for something to drink, Gin wraps himself in an embrace with Andre, and the rest of the guys ask Mun about his hammy, Wong grabs his dress shirt and slacks that he came to the game in and runs out a side entrance.
16MM has their next game in just three days against Derelicte. It’s a big one. Not cause they have a shot at winning, but because there’s a huge back story to it that involved Wong and how 16MM got to where they are right now.
But I can’t even ask him about it, which I’d planned to.
I hope he picks up my phone call tomorrow.
Score by Quarters
|16 Minute Men
|Tri-State InvAsian - 67|
|Player||FG||3PT||FT||REB||AST||STL||BLK||TO|| F ||PTS|
|Banh, Co||2 / 4 [0.500]||0 / 0 [0.000]||0 / 0 [0.000]||3||2||3||0||2||1||4
|Liu, Andre||3 / 6 [0.500]||0 / 2 [0.000]||0 / 0 [0.000]||5||1||1||0||4||3||6
|Oh, Albert||3 / 8 [0.375]||2 / 3 [0.667]||0 / 0 [0.000]||3||6||0||0||2||0||8
|Park, Henry||1 / 5 [0.200]||1 / 4 [0.250]||0 / 0 [0.000]||3||2||1||0||5||0||3
|Rassiwalla, Sabir||2 / 10 [0.200]||0 / 0 [0.000]||2 / 4 [0.500]||11||1||1||0||1||4||6
|Wong, David||10 / 17 [0.588]||2 / 4 [0.500]||4 / 5 [0.800]||7||1||3||0||0||0||26
|Yu, Jiang||6 / 10 [0.600]||1 / 4 [0.250]||1 / 2 [0.500]||13||4||4||0||3||1||14
| ||27 / 60 [0.450]||6 / 17 [0.353]||7 / 11 [0.636]||45||17||13||0||17||9||67|
|16 Minute Men - 37|
|Player||FG||3PT||FT||REB||AST||STL||BLK||TO|| F ||PTS|
|Chao, Gin||0 / 9 [0.000]||0 / 0 [0.000]||5 / 8 [0.625]||8||0||1||0||2||3||5
|Lieu, Ray||2 / 5 [0.400]||0 / 0 [0.000]||0 / 0 [0.000]||6||4||4||1||6||2||4
|Liu, Hoe||5 / 18 [0.278]||2 / 8 [0.250]||0 / 0 [0.000]||7||0||2||0||3||1||12
|Ng, Kenny||3 / 5 [0.600]||0 / 0 [0.000]||3 / 6 [0.500]||6||1||4||0||3||1||9
|Ng, Mun||2 / 8 [0.250]||1 / 7 [0.143]||0 / 0 [0.000]||3||0||0||0||3||0||5
|Wong, John||1 / 10 [0.100]||0 / 2 [0.000]||0 / 0 [0.000]||2||3||1||0||2||1||2
| ||13 / 55 [0.236]||3 / 17 [0.176]||8 / 14 [0.571]||32||8||12||1||19||8||37|