Some thought it may never happen; with the way Bank of Taiwan has played through its first ten games and losing by an average of 15.4 points per game. But the long awaited "W" finally came on Saturday when the bankers beat the Taiwan Mobile Leopards by a 67-60 margin at the Kaohsiung County Sports Complex to capture that elusive first victory of the season.
Having lost four of their top five players from the postseason-qualifying squad two seasons ago to free agency due to a tight budget and veteran skipper Wei Cheng-ming who left after a dismal 4-26 record last year, the bankers really did not have much going for them at the start of this season. And their poor 0-10 start more than supported that position, despite several near-misses on their valiant efforts against stronger opponents that ended in close losses.
But that did not prevent head coach Lai Liang-chung from rallying his troops to keep their heads high and believing in themselves, as they finally broke through to crack the win column.
The contest began with the Leopards dominating the bankers in every facet of the game as they held the Bank of Taiwan to eight first-quarter points to lead it 20-8 in what appeared to be another rout.
Then came the counterattack by the bankers as they returned the favor by limiting the Leopards to eight second-quarter points in a defensive struggle that cut Taiwan Mobile's lead to seven in a low 28-21 score at the half.
The bankers would carry their success into the second half with Lin "Killer Bee" Chuin-fong leading a long-range attack that featured five three's to give his team a rare 44-42 advantage after three quarters of play, a lead they would hold the rest of the way.
Taiwan Mobile had its chances to turn the game around with Hong Chi-chao and Lai Guo-hong nailing several key jumpers to keep the bankers' lead under five for the most part of the final quarter.
But every time the Leopards defense would stop the bankers from hitting the initial shot on an offensive sequence, Chou Ben-tang or Hsu Chih-chiang would come up with huge rebounds off the offensive glass for easy put-back baskets or other second-chance opportunities, until it was finally too late for Taiwan Mobile to come back.
Dinos 100 Pure Youth 93
Undefeated Yulon Dinos found themselves in a difficult Pure Youth Constructions club and needed a big fourth-quarter push to prevail in a 100-93 win at Kaohsiung earlier on Saturday.
Chen "Airman" Hsin-an continued his scoring binge by pouring in 15 points in the first quarter en route to a game-high, 25-point performance.
While the Airman drew the builders' attention early, it was the Dinos' Lee Chi-yi who stole the spotlight in the game's closing minutes as the offseason free-agent catch from the Leopards downed five straight with under four minutes remaining to help keep the Dinos' perfect record (11-0) intact.
Six different Pure Youth players scored in double-digits on a balanced attack, but that was not nearly enough as the Dinos proved too experienced for the builders to outmaneuver in the end.
Tigers 64 Taiwan Beer 92
Taiwan Beer cruised past the Dacin Tigers in a 92-64 blowout Saturday evening to extend its winning streak to four in a row.
Missing four of their regular starting five to injuries, the Tigers hardly put up a fight as the beer crew held nothing back in a merciless thrashing to avenge an embarrassing loss in the season-opener.