Postseason experience came through in a big way for the Yulon Dinos as they overcame a 10 point, fourth-quarter deficit to beat Taiwan Beer 81-79 in Game 1 of the Super Basketball League championship series at the Taipei Physical Education College Gymnasium Saturday night.
All-Star center Tseng Wen-ding who averaged 30 points per game over the Dinos' four first-round matches struggled with just 10 points during the first three quarters of the game against frequent double-team coverage from Taiwan Beer.
But with the game on the line, the former championship-series MVP rose to the occasion to score ten of the Dinos' final 21 points, including the game-winning free throws with 7.7 seconds remaining, for the Dinos victory.
"The penetration inside by the guards was what freed me up for the easy buckets late in the game, so the credit should go to the guards," Tseng said.
Behind five three-pointers from four different players, the brew crew greeted the defending champs with a 20-6 lead before letting up a bid to close out the first quarter up 27-19. Then came an evenly matched second quarter that had Taiwan Beer adding to its lead by a deuce to end the first half with a surprising double-digit advantage (50-40).
A 9-0 run by the Dinos in the early going of the third quarter cut the beer crew's lead to only two, before they regrouped in a hurry to build the lead back to ten on the strength of several hard drives to the basket by Lin "The Beast" Chih-jeh.
Wei Yong-tai's 17-foot jumper two minutes into the fourth initiated what turned out to be a slow, but steady Dinos comeback as they chipped away at the Taiwan Beer lead with alerting defense and Tseng's rediscovered inside presence that included three monstrous dunks in the game-deciding fourth.
With the game tied at 79-all, the brewers had possession of the ball for the potential game-winner. But point guard Chen Shih-nian's careless pass that was intercepted by the Dinos led to a foul on the other end of the floor on Tseng for the game-winning free throws.
Trailing by two with under six seconds to play, power forward Shang Wei-fang had a chance to win the game for Taiwan Beer with a long three-point attempt that bounced off the rim as time expired.
"There is no substitute for big game experience, and that was the difference in the game," Taiwan Beer coach Yen Jia-hua said.
The Dinos win kept their perfect record in the championship round intact at 7-0 with back-to-back three-game sweeps over the past two seasons in claiming two straight SBL titles.
Tigers 111, Bank of Taiwan 94
The Dacin Tigers had no trouble against the bankers in claiming a 111-94 blowout win in Game 1 of the consolation round.
Top scorer Tien Lei poured in a game-high 34 points and 17 rebounds for the victorious Tigers as they let off a load of frustration for missing the championship series by opening the game with an explosive 32-point first quarter before the eventual rout.
First-round hero Yang Jin-min led all bankers with 26 points and six rebounds in an afternoon where they were simply outplayed in every facet of the game by a motivated Dacin squad.
Vince Carter scored 28 points, Richard Jefferson had 22 and the New Jersey Nets beat the Indiana Pacers 97-88 on Saturday to tie their National Basketball Association Eastern Conference first-round playoff series at two games apiece.