Chou Hong-yu's (周泓諭) tip-back basket off a Tseng Wen-ding (曾文鼎) miss with the time expiring scored the game-winner in Game 5 of the Super Basketball League championship series Sunday night to give the Yulon Dinos a dramatic 74-73 win over Taiwan Beer for their third straight league title.
The veteran power forward who had been limited to a reserve role due to the overwhelming amount of talent on the Dinos squad, put himself in great rebounding position after three Taiwan Beer players had rushed to the middle of the paint to defend against Tseng's desperation shot with under two seconds to play, and was able to reach over for the tip-in that delivered the win.
"This is what winning the title is all about. You wait for your chances and when it comes you've got to make to most of it," a champagne-drenched Chou said. "I'm glad I was in the position to deliver the knockout punch."
Blue ribbons flying off the spectator stands immediately covered a good portion of the floor at the Taipei Physical Education College Gymnasium as the Dinos bench swarmed the court to celebrate their 4-1 championship series victory over a resilient Taiwan Beer club.
"It was truly an incredible season for us, even though we did not have [Chen] Hsin-an with us [because of an offseason contract dispute]. We were able to gel as a unit against all adversities to achieve ultimate glory," Dinos coach Lee Yun-kuan said. "It was a great effort all around for the entire organization -- from the top all the way down."
Along with the NT$3 million (NT$1 million from the league and NT$2 million from the Yulon Enterprise) that the Dinos will receive in prize money, the three-time champs will each be awarded a championship ring, in addition to several other perks for their total dominance on the court.
All-Star center Tseng Wen-ding was the unanimous choice for the series' Most Valuable Player honor, despite playing an off game in the series-clincher (11 points, five rebounds, and seven turnovers) as his immense overall contribution to the team over the four previous contests (averaging 22.5 points and 11 rebounds per contest) was what had carried the Dinos up to Game 5.
"Winning the series MVP doesn't matter too much to me, as long as the team wins," Tseng said.
The game began with Dinos hitting most of their shots in a lopsided 26-11 first quarter that featured three 3-pointers by a red-hot Chou Shih-yuan.
Down by 15 in a must-win game, Taiwan Beer answered with a slew of perimeter shots that cut the Dinos lead to 10 to close out the first half.
After Tseng was hit with his fourth foul midway through the third quarter, the beer crew was able to attack the middle of the Dinos defense with more ease, halving the Dinos lead to just five by the end of the third quarter.
With the momentum seemingly swinging Taiwan Beer's way, the brew crew managed to force a 64-all tie before taking its first lead of the game at 73-72 with 14 seconds remaining on a pair of made free throws by forward Shang Wei-fang.
Although the late-game lead seemed to be enough, Chou's buzzer-beating tip-back ultimately destroyed Taiwan Beer's chance for another game in the best-of-seven series.
Taiwan Beer never gave up during this pivotal game.
"We really gave the Dinos a big scare tonight," Taiwan Beer coach Yen Jia-hua