Tien Lei's season-high 49 points rallied the Dacin Tigers from deficits as large as 10 points in the second half to pull off a 93-92 overtime win over the ETTV Antelopes at the National Cheng Kung University in Tainan on Friday night.
The three-time league MVP winner proved his worth by sinking a nerve-wracking 3-pointer with 13.3 seconds remaining in regulation to force an 85-85 tie before his Tigers went on to baffle the Antelopes in overtime for the incredible finish.
Needing a win over the Tigers to keep their playoffs hopes alive, the Antelopes gave it their all to build a seven-point lead with under two minutes remaining in regulation.
But they were unable to put the game away as Huang Bao-tzu missed four straight free throws as the Tigers opted to foul the veteran guard to conserve time on the clock.
The Antelopes employed a 12-3 run behind the dominant inside play of Wu and power forward Delvin "DT" Thomas as ETTV slowing built a 10-point cushion to close out the first half leading 48-38.
Tien's 11 points, along with the stellar play of fellow forward Yao Jung-jeh, would keep the Tigers in the game during an evenly fought third quarter.
The Antelopes employed a predominantly low-post attack to lead by nine at 70-61 after three quarters of play.
That was the extent that the Antelopes had control of the game as the Tigers promptly tightened their defensive efforts to stop ETTV from tearing up the middle of the paint, holding the Antelopes to 15 fourth-quarter points to send the game into overtime.
Wu Jia-long's hard drive to the basket with time expiring could have won the game for the Antelopes after Tien's game-tying three in the closing seconds of regulation, but the shot was too strong as it bounced off the rim.
Dinos 84, Bank of Taiwan 68
There was no shocking upset in the game between the Yulon Dinos and Bank of Taiwan as the heavily favored Dinos cruised past the bankers 84-68 to earn a share of the lead in the standings with the Videoland Hunters.
The bankers managed to hang even with the defending champs for the first half behind the strong play of power forward Yang Jing-min and rookie Chang Rong-hsuen.
But that was close as they came with Dinos pouring in 25 points in the third and fourth quarters on their way to a blowout win.