Bank of Taiwan pulled off a minor upset against Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor last night by converting six of eight free-throws in the final minute to hold off the Distillers 84-77 at the New Taipei City Sports Complex in Sinjhuang for their first win of the season.
What had been a comfortable 10-point lead for the Bankers with under two minutes to play in the game suddenly turned into a shaky three-point advantage in a matter of a minute with Kinmen Kaoliang pouring in seven unanswered points behind the strong play of Shang Wei-fan and Chang Rong-hsuen.
However, Hsu Chih-chiang, Chen Hsuen-shiang and newcomer Jason Faulknor combined to hit six of the Bankers’ final eight free throw attempts in the last minute to keep a fierce Kinmen Kaoliang rally at bay and preserve the victory.
His troops did not disappoint manager Chang Ming-dao and the 30-plus members of the Bank of Taiwan’s management team on hand to cheer on their squad, as they overcame a five-point deficit at the half by outscoring Kinmen Kaoliang 48-36 during the rest of the game.
After the Bankers opened the contest with a quick 4-0 lead, Kinmen Kaoliang regrouped in a hurry and scored 11 of the next 13 points before settling for a 19-17 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The game quickly turned into a seesaw affair, with both teams trading leads of less than three for most of the second quarter, before Shang netted five straight points to give Kinmen Kaoliang a 41-36 lead at the half.
The Distillers led by as many as eight early in the third quarter, with top scorer Chang Rong-hsuen leading the charge only to see the Bankers counter with a 6-0 run of their own to force a 49-49 tie.
Bank of Taiwan nosed ahead late in the quarter with 10 points from Chang Bo-sheng to lead 59-56 heading into the final period.
With Kinmen Kaoliang struggling to get their offense in sync early in the fourth following a dismal third, the Bankers were able to up their lead to 10 with less than two minutes remaining.
Kinmen Kaoliang finally found their range late in the game to pull within three, but it was too little too late as the Bankers made the free-throws when it mattered to keep the win intact.
“We are still trying to adjust to everyone’s style of play, especially the new guy [Faulknor], but it’s great to be able to win a game,” Chang said after the victory.
Taiwan Beer 80, Luxgens 71
Taiwan Beer took a surprising 31-17 lead after the first quarter and never looked back as they downed the Yulon Luxgens 80-71 in Game 2 last night for their second straight win.