Newly naturalized basketball player William Artino led the Tainan TSG GhostHawks to victory in his first game as a Taiwanese Sunday, ending his team's three-game losing streak in the T1 LEAGUE professional league.
U.S.-born Artino posted a double-double of 15 rebounds and 25 points, including two three-pointers from beyond the arc, in his first game since collecting his Taiwanese identification card and completing mandatory quarantine and self-health management protocols earlier this week.
Having just completed all of the protocols Friday after arriving in Taiwan three weeks ago and also having spent two weeks in quarantine in July in Hong Kong, Artino said quarantine had been tough, but he did not let it affect his excitement to play in his new home.
"So, in the last five to six months, I've been in quarantine for a month or five weeks, so that's been tough but it's all worth it. We're here now and we're home," Artino told CNA.
Nicknamed "White Tower" by Taiwanese media, the 29-year-old, 2.11-meter center took control of the paint, including maneuvering past two defenders for a one-handed dunk in the third quarter.
Artino's performance powered the GhostHawks to a 114-83 victory over the struggling Taoyuan Leopards, which are currently in last place in the six-team league with a 1-4 record.
The GhostHawks are now fifth, having just won their first game after losing their previous three games.
Despite putting on a clinic, Artino was very humble and credited his whole team for the win."I haven't played a game since May, so it wasn't exactly how I would have liked it, some of the shots I missed and my team helped me out," Artino said.
A lot of Taiwanese basketball fans are excited about Artino's arrival as he will also be part of the national team, bringing height and power into the low post.
"As far as becoming a new Taiwanese, I'm very thankful. It's been kind of a roller-coaster week with a lot of stuff with the national team," Artino said.
"So, just to have everything finalized and situated, I'm just very thankful for everything and excited to start my journey here, and looking forward to seeing everyone and representing the country," Artino said.
As a major part of the then-Changhua-based Formosa Dreamers basketball team during the 2018-2019 season of the ASEAN Basketball League, when Artino posted an average of 20.6 points and 10.7 rebounds, he grew fond of Taiwan during that time and felt like he was at home in the country.
In addition to playing for the Dreamers, Artino has also played professionally in Estonia, Denmark, and Romania after finishing his college career at Creighton in 2015.
He spent the 2020-2021 season in Mexico's top professional league with Panteras de Aguascalientes, where he averaged 17.4 points and 8.8 rebounds a game.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel