Wu Jia-long's free throw with 3.5 seconds remaining in the game broke an 87-87 tie for the ETTV Antelopes to cap off a remarkable second-half comeback that gave the Antelopes an 88-87 win over Taiwan Beer at the Taipei Physical Education College Gymnasium on Sunday afternoon.
The fourth-year Antelopes forward not only redeemed himself for a costly traveling call that nearly led to a loss for his team in the game's final minute, but also helped the Antelopes win their fourth straight to tie a club record for the longest winning streak.
Fellow forward Hsin Jin-chang and shooting guard Yang Yu-ming also had a monster game for the upset-minded Antelopes with 18 and 22 points respectively, to keep their team on the winning track after a dismal 1-4 start that had many wondering early last month that it was capable of winning another game.
PHOTO: LIN CHENG-KUNG, TAIPEI TIMES
The game of the day between the two preseason favorites was all-Taiwan Beer in the early going as they led the Antelopes by five (24-19) after the opening quarter and upped their lead to as many as ten in the second quarter on the strength of Ho Sho-cheng's three second-quarter three-pointers, before cooling off slightly to end the first half leading 43-37.
Then things took a sharp turn as the Antelopes answered with seven three's of their own in the third quarter, highlighted by Yang's five, to actually take a 68-64 lead heading into the game-deciding fourth.
ETTV would take leads as large as seven at the three-minute mark in the fourth quarter before Taiwan Beer forced finally forced an 87-all tie with seven unanswered points with under a minute left in the game, setting the stage for Wu's late-game heroics.
Taiwan Beer did have two calls go against them late in the game that cut short of what would have been a valiant comeback effort: an offensive foul on Lin "the Beast" Chih-jeh that gave the ball back to the Antelopes in the final minute and a foul that sent Wu to the free-throw line for the game-winner.
"It's all part of the game; we had our chances and that was that," Taiwan Beer coach Yen Jia-hua said after the game.
Five different ETTV players scored in double-digits in the game with Yang's 22 topping the list.
As for Taiwan Beer, Ho's game-high 28 with eight rebounds led an inconsistent attack that sorely missed the leadership of veteran guard Luo "the Natural" Hsin-liang, who sat out with the flu.
Tigers 83, Dinos 70
The Antelopes were not the only underdogs that ended the weekend's play with the last laugh as the Dacin Tigers also pulled off a major upset with a huge 83-70 win over the defending champs, the Yulon Dinos, to snap the Dinos' eight-game winning steak late on Sunday evening.
Tien Lei's season-high 37 points, 25 of which came during the first half, proved too much even for the Dinos to overcome as the three-time league MVP wowed the Dinos with an amazing 9-for-12 shooting from behind the three-point line and 17 boards for the game.
The Tigers first doubled up on the Dinos (28-14) in an all-Tien Lei first quarter, then added to their lead with another lopsided second quarter to claim a huge 50-29 lead at the half.
Down by more than 20, the Dinos managed to fight back with a solid second half to cut the deficit to as small as seven points in the closing minutes of the game. But that was as close as they got with Tigers getting some rally-stopping free throws from speedy guard Su Yi-jeh late in the game to secure the impressive victory.
With the win, the Tigers earned themselves the distinction of the league's winning-streak killers because they were also the team that put a stop to the Videoland Hunters' seven-game streak by handing them their first loss of the season on Jan 28th.
Hunters 100, Bank of Taiwan 86
The Videoland Hunters ended their two-game weekend on a high note with a convincing 100-86 win over Bank of Taiwan on Sunday.
The win over the bankers, coupled with the loss by the Dinos to the Tigers, gave the top spot in the standings right back to the Hunters after they briefly lost it to the Dinos after a losing effort on Saturday in the showdown between the top two squads in the league.
All-purpose forward Jonathan Sanders bounced back nicely from a two-game mini-slump with 27 points and 21 rebounds for his third double-20 game of the year.
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