First round postseason action in the Super Basketball League began on Wednesday night at the Taipei Physical Education College Gymnasium with the top-seeded Yulon Dinos beating Taiwan Beer in an 82-59 blowout.
Postseason experience came through for the defending champs (Dinos) in a big way when they took advantage of the beermen's 20 turnovers in the game and converted several of them into uncontested fast break baskets, which proved crucial just before the middle of the match.
Chen "Airman" Hsin-an and all-star center Tseng Wen-ding led the way for the Dinos on offense with 17 and 18 points respectively in a balanced attack that left the beermen trailing throughout the entire contest.
The seven assists dished out by the Dinos' dynamic duo, which resulted in 10 additional points by other Dino players, also made it nearly impossible for the beermen to focus their defensive efforts on them.
The game began with both teams connecting from long range in a high-scoring, 30-22 first quarter in favor of the Dinos. Chen Hsin-an backed up his Player-of-the-Month status with three three-pointers in the quarter to rival the two NBA-range "threes" from Taiwan Beer's Lin "The Beast" Chih-jeh.
Then things quieted down for both clubs in a slower second quarter which led to a 43-36 Dinos advantage at the half.
Early foul trouble on big man Ha Hsiao-yuan and The Beast limited Taiwan Beer's ability to defend the middle of the paint effectively against the Dinos' potent low-post play in the second half, leaving the Dinos many chances for short-range jumpers and offensive rebounds. They did not surprise anybody by going on the rampage against their hapless opponents.
Ha's early exit halfway through the third quarter (for fouling out of the game) and The Beast's subsequent departure with over seven minutes left in the game made things easier for the Dinos and they pulled away in the second half for their runaway and almost unoppsed victory.
Three European referees were called in for the postseason games and their stricter standards of ruling on the floor might have caused some concerns for both squads, as the early fouls by the beermen clearly played a role on the outcome of the game.
"It definitely took us some time to get used to their [foreign referees'] standards, but as long as they are consistent, which was the case, I am quite okay with it," Taiwan Beer headman Yen Jia-hua said in the post-game interview.
His crew will face the Dinos in Game 2 of the best-of-three series tomorrow night to see if there will be another game for Taiwan Beer.