Behind an immaculate 26-point performance by Yang Jing-min, Taiwan Beer took an eight-point lead after the opening quarter and never looked back as they defeated the Dacin Tigers 81-68 at the Sinjhuang Sports Complex in New Taipei City last night.
The win not only tied the best-of-seven semi-final series at 3-3 to force a decisive Game 7 tomorrow night, it also kept the defending champions’ hopes of a repeat title alive as they look to make it into the Championship Finals for the second straight season and the fifth time in the past six years.
“We really did a good job on defense, which gave our offense a good foundation to build on,” Yang said after the game.
His 18 points in the first half, highlighted by several strong drives to the hoop, disrupted the Tigers enough that they were forced to deviate from their game plan of focusing solely on containing Taiwan Beer center Kibwe Trim, so much so that they never made the necessary adjustments to keep the game closer than they should have in the second half.
Also starring for the defending champions was Cheng “Qoo” Ren-wei, who had a big day running the transition game to make his presence felt.
The Tigers did flash some signs of brilliance with several mini-runs to cut the deficit to five points, with center Noel Felix doing most of the damage in the low post area.
However, the Brew Crew were able to answer each attempt at a rally with a small run of their own to cut the comeback effort short.
Tigers icon Tien Lei also did not play up to his potential as he roamed around on the perimeter more often than skipper Huang Wan-long would have liked, instead of taking the ball strong to the basket as he had done in Game 2 and Game 5, resulting in a pair of wins for his team.
The two teams will have today off to get ready for the series-clincher in Sinjhuang tomorrow night, with the tip-off scheduled for 6pm.