Week 2 action in the Super Basketball League (SBL) continued on Saturday with Taiwan Beer edging past Pure Youth Construction in a 75-72 thriller, the Taiwan Mobile Leopards upsetting the Yulon Luxgens (formerly the Dinos) 76-68 and the Dacin Tigers cruising past Bank of Taiwan in an 88-72 win at the Miaoli County Sports Complex.
With star player Lin “the Beast” Chih-jeh still struggling to find his groove offensively, the Beer Crew looked to Yang Jing-min, who netted 22 points and nine boards in his third 20-plus-point game of the season to lead the men in green to their second win of the week.
Point guard Chen Shih-nian might not have had a good game statistically — just a dozen points and three rebounds — but came up big late in the game with a spectacular pass to Wu Dai-hao for an easy deuce before sinking a pair of free-throws in the closing seconds to clinch the game for Taiwan Beer.
After another slow start that saw the beer crew trailing the builders 29-32 at the half, the defending champs finally awoke in the third quarter with 27 points to take a 56-48 lead heading into the fourth. But Pure Youth would not go down easily and rallied from as many as 10 down to within a point of Taiwan Beer before faltering to lose by three.
LEOPARDS 76, LUXGENS 68
The Taiwan Mobile Leopards rode the strong debut by rookie center Yen Cheng-hong to take a surprising 47-29 lead at the half and held on to defeat the Yulon Luxgens 76-68 in the afternoon game at Miaoli earlier on Saturday.
Yen made his presence felt against Luxgens all-star center Tseng Wen-ding from the get-go, with six first-quarter points to set the tone early in the game. Yen helped the Leopards establish a solid inside attack that shocked the three-time champs. By the time the Luxgens realized what had hit them and strung together an 11-3 run of their own to reduce the deficit to four, it was already too late.
Yen ended up with a game-high 19 points even though he fouled out around midway through the fourth. His outstanding effort more than met the high expectations that skipper Cheng Chih-long had for him, making the Leopards appear confident and well-prepared for the first time this early in the season.
As for the Luxgens, the absence of premier forward Chen “Airman” Hsin-an was felt throughout the contest as the Leopards were simply too strong inside the paint for Tseng, who played most of the fourth quarter with four fouls.
TIGERS 88, BANK OF TAIWAN 72
Dacin also had a double-digit lead early in the second, dominating Bank of Taiwan as they blew past the bankers by an 88-72 margin to remain unbeaten at 3-0 on Saturday evening.
Foreign help Byron Allen finally played up to coach Chiou Da-tsong’s expectation in his third game in Taiwan, netting 16 points and a dozen boards in his first double-double of the season as the Tigers outplayed the Financial Wizards in every aspect of the game.
Outmanned and outgunned by its opponents, the hapless Bankers suffered their third straight defeat of the season to remain winless at 0-3.