Resurgent Bank of Taiwan gave the Yulon Luxgens an honest run for their money in a tough fight yesterday afternoon, but with the game on the line, it was the experienced four-time champions that prevailed as the Luxgens edged past the Bankers in an 82-77 final at the Sinjhuang Sports Complex in New Taipei City.
What should have been a blowout victory for the Luxgens — at least on paper as far as the statistics were concerned as the Bankers came into the game with a paltry 2-7 mark, while the Luxgens enjoyed a 6-4 record prior to the contest — turned into a dog fight as the Bankers gave the Luxgens a run for their money in the first half.
Despite falling behind by as many as eight points in the first quarter, the Bankers took a surprising 38-35 lead into the half.
However, the Luxgens made sure they would not start off the new Lunar Year on the wrong foot, as they scored 28 points in the third quarter to take a slim lead and held on late in a seesaw fourth to run away with a five-point win.
Red-hot Chen Hsuen-shiang continued his dynamite shooting from Friday night, when he netted 29 points, posting a game-high 30 points in just his second game since returning from an injury to lead a new-and-improved Bankers’ squad.
Chen was 6 of 13 from behind the three-point arc and converted about 50 percent of his shots from the floor, even though the outcome of the game did not go his way.
Eight turnovers by the Bankers in the fourth quarter did not help their cause as they coughed up the ball without being pressured at least three times in the final two minutes of the game to miss out on some golden opportunities to narrow the gap.
“We really self-destructed in the end by not taking better care of the ball,” Bank of Taiwan skipper Lai Liang-chung said after the game.
His troops committed a sinful 20 turnovers on the night to make it virtually impossible to win.
The win by the Luxgens came conveniently in New Taipei City, where the team officially signed a deal with the city for the naming rights to the team. The squad will be called the New Taipei City Yulon Luxgens for the rest of the season.
LEOPARDS 88, KINMEN LIQUOR 63
In the second game in Sinjhuang yesterday afternoon, the Taiwan Mobile Leopards shook off a dismal first quarter by outscoring Kinmen Liquor 74-42 the rest of the way to triumph over the Distillers by more than 20 points.
An 11-0 run by the Leopards, coupled with an out-of-sync Kinmen Liquor offense that was held scoreless for about five minutes in the third quarter, blew a 40-40 tie at the half wide open as the Leopards took control of the game early in the second half.
That was all they needed to run the table as they piled on 27 points in the fourth quarter, with guard Su Yi-jeh teaming up with newcomer Ryan Wright for a dozen points to seal the victory long before the final buzzer sounded.
PURE YOUTH 92, TAIWAN BEER 84
Scoring early and often, Pure Youth Construction humbled the defending champs from Taiwan Beer for an eight-point victory in yesterday’s final game to improve to 6-3 for the season.
The Builders took a 32-24 lead after the opening quarter and never looked back as they trounced the Brew Crew to humiliate coach Yen Jia-hua and his crew as they suffered a team-worst fourth straight loss.