Reserve players scored big in their respective games around the SBL, including the Taiwan Mobile Cloud Leopards’ 73-59 defeat of Taiwan Beer at the Sinjhuang Sports Complex in New Taipei City yesterday.
With the postseason seedings virtually determined, the favorites all played their second units for a good portion of their games in the interest of giving reserve players more floor time as well as to rest the starters.
Heading off the day were the Leopards, who outscored the Brew Crew 22-12 in the decisive third quarter to turn a two-point halftime deficit into a double-digit win over the defending champs.
Ryan Wright had another monster day at the office for the Leopards, scoring 24 points and grabbing 19 boards to leave the American one rebound shy of a 20-20 outing. Also starring for the Leopards was shooter Chen Jing-huan, who netted 14 to help his club win their second game in as many days.
“We wanted to give some of our younger guys a chance to get a feel for the game before the playoffs start, as the outcome did not carry any bearing,” Taiwan Beer kipper Yen Jia-hua said after the game.
The Brew Crew hold the No. 2 seed going into the postseason.
KINMEN KAOLIANG 80,
PURE YOUTH 77
Kinmen Kaoliang held a lead as large as 18 points in the second half and held off a late-game rally by Pure Youth to escape with a win in the second game in Sinjhuang.
“It’s not that we did not want to win, but we really couldn’t afford to lose any players for the postseason, as we had done in the past,” Pure Youth head coach Hsu Jin-tseh said about playing his starters for less than 20 minutes in the game.
The Builders — who finished the regular season as the only team with fewer than 10 losses — had already clinched the top berth for the postseason two weeks ago.
If the postseason were to begin today, Pure Youth would be facing the Yulon Luxgens.
BANK OF TAIWAN 81, LUXGENS 72
Cellar dwellers Bank of Taiwan also made it two wins in a row in their game with the Yulon Luxgens in the weekend finale.
Team captain Hsu Chih-chiang was simply unstoppable as he exploded for a season-high 39 points on 15 of 27 shooting and chipped in seven rebounds to lead the Bankers to victory.