Overcoming a nine-point deficit with less than five minutes remaining in regulation, the Dacin Tigers rallied from behind to tie the game and force overtime, before going on to defeat Bank of Taiwan in a 90-87 final at the Kaohsiung Arena last night to tip off the final weekend of play before the Lunar New Year holiday with a bang.
Noel Felix’s two-handed slam off a miss by Chang Chih-fong capped a 6-0 run that brought the Big Cats to within three with three minutes remaining in regulation. A technical foul on the Bankers’ John Vaudreuil near the four-minute mark gave Dacin a pair of free throws and possession of the ball before Felix’s thunderous dunk.
“That play was what turned the game around for us because we had the momentum from that point on,” Dacin skipper Chiou Da-tsong said after the game.
His team nearly fell victims to another round of Friday-night magic by the Bankers, who upset Kinmen Liquor for their first win of the season a week ago.
However, lightning did not strike twice for the Bankers as they self-destructed in the final minutes of regulation time by converting a dismal two-for-six from the free-throw line and followed with even worse one-for-five free-throw shooting in overtime to lose the game by a disheartening three points in the end.
“We really beat ourselves tonight with the way we shot our free throws. There is just no excuse for that,” Bank of Taiwan head coach Lai Liang-chung said.
His troops were six-of-15 at the charity stripe, which made it virtually impossible to win, let alone against the top-ranked Tigers.
The Bankers opened the game with a strong first quarter offensively that netted them 20 points to claim a slim 20-19 lead over the league-leaders. They managed to up the advantage to more than a half-dozen, despite a four-minute scoring drought to begin the second quarter, with an outstanding 10-0 run to close out the half with a stunning 41-34 cushion.
Dacin answered the challenge in the third quarter with 26 points compared with the Bankers’ 19 to tie it at 60-60, before falling behind by as many as nine with less than five minutes to play in regulation, setting the stage for one of the biggest comebacks of this season.
In other SBL action, it was:
‧ Pure Youth 94, Luxgens 87