Kinmen Kaoliang opened the second half of the season with a solid 69-63 come-from-behind win over the Taiwan Mobile Cloud Leopards at the Sinjhuang Sports Complex in New Taipei City last night.
Hired gun Anthony Fuqua played his best game since joining the team in early February, with a game-high 23 points, seven rebounds and a key steal late in the game, despite a shaky first quarter, to lead the Distillers past the Leopards.
The win not only avenged a blowout loss for Kinmen Kaoliang to the Leopards in their previous meeting, but also cut the Leopards’ lead over Kinmen Kaoliang in the standings to just a half-game as they fought hard to remain in the chase for a post-season berth.
Taiwan Mobile came out firing, with Chang Rong-hsuan leading the attack, to take a 14-5 lead in the first five minutes of play before settling for a 21-12 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
However, the Distillers would shake off the rough start with a great second quarter, championed by 15 combined points from Fuqua and fellow forward Liu Cheng, to fall within a deuce (36-34) at the half.
That was the confidence-booster that Kinmen Kaoliang needed to turn the tables, and they took the lead for the first time at 39-38 two minutes into the third quarter and never looked back.
Even though the Leopards would stay in the game by forcing two ties in the second half with big man Ryan Wright and speedy guard Su Yi-jeh doing the damage offensively, they never managed to surpass the Distillers, especially with the game on the line in the final minute, to lose this one by six in the end.
Bank of Taiwan v Taiwan Beer
A red-hot Taiwan Beer steamrolled past Bank of Taiwan in a lopsided 92-79 final in the second game in New Taipei City last night to stretch their current winning streak to five straight.