Chen Shih-nian's 14-foot floater with 13.4 seconds left on the clock put Taiwan Beer up for good in Saturday's 75-74 thriller as the beermen kicked off the year with an impressive victory over the previously unbeaten Videoland Hunters.
Lin "the Beast" Chih-jeh, also pitched in his usual 20-plus points (22 to be exact) along with eight rebounds and two assists to make sure the Hunters' winning streak would stop at five games.
Lack of physical stamina might have been a factor in the Hunters' one-point loss because they had just played a fast-pace game the night before to pull off a 79-74 win over the Sina Lions and simply ran out of gas against a well-rested Taiwan Beer squad which had all week to prepare for the showdown against the league leaders.
Four Taiwan Beer players scored 14 points or more in a well-balanced attack that had often been referred to as Lin Chih-jeh's "one-man gang" for its inability to spread the ball around.
Lions 74, Hunters 79
The winless Sina Lions nearly escaped the deadly barbs of the Videoland Hunters in their final contest of 2004 by playing three outstanding quarters of basketball before faltering in the fourth to remain winless for the season.
The big cats took a 58-54 lead into the fourth quarter before a 10-2 Hunters' run midway through the quarter ultimately swung the momentum the Hunters' way in the 79-74 decision.
Dacin icon Tien Lei pulled down 13 boards along with his 21 points, both game-high marks, for his first double-double of the season.
Antelopes 81, Bank of Taiwan 73
Sharp shooter Yang Yu-ming's career-best 35-point night paved the way for the ETTV Antelopes' 81-73 win over the Bank of Taiwan on New Year's Eve.
The banker's inability to nail free throws throughout the game, missing 13 of 28 from the line, dug a big hole that even their turnover and rebounding edge (15-19 and 42-39, respectively) could not overcome.
"A normal shooting performance from the line would have easily changed the outcome of this game," A disgusted Wei Chen-ming, in his second year as the bankers' head coach, said after the game.
Tigers 87, Antelopes 68
Trouble continued for the ETTV Antelopes into the New Year as they dropped the second game in as many days to walk off the court losers against the Dacin Tigers on Saturday.
Chang Chih-fong's ball-denying defense on the Antelopes' scoring threat Yang Yu-ming completely removed Yang from the Antelopes' offense by limiting the league's number two scorer (averaging 25.3 points per game prior to the contest) to just five for the night.
Taiwan Beer 78, Bank of Taiwan 69
Taiwan Beer (3-2) quietly snatched the second-place spot in the league standings by winning their third game of the season in a 78-69 triumph over the Bank of Taiwan on Sunday.
The win also avenged an embarrassing loss by the beermen in their season opener when the financial wizards took it strong to the hole against the beermen in a 76-72 cause.
After starting the season off with a 2-1 mark, the bankers have lost in their last two outings by returning to their former mistake-prone, poor-shooting habits from last season.
Dinos 84, Tigers 75
Coach Lee Yun-guang's decision to switch to a 2-3 zone defense midway through the third quarter proved effective against the poor-shooting Dacin Tigers, as the defending champs, the Yulon Dinos, snapped their two-game losing streak with a convincing 84-75 win.