Overcoming deficits as large as 11 points early in the second half, the Dacin Tigers rallied with a dominant second half to defeat Taiwan Beer 71-69 in Game 7 of their semi-final series at the Sinjhuang Sports Complex in New Taipei City last night to advance to the finals.
Tien Lei had a huge day at the office as he netted a game-high 36 points to lead the Tigers past the defending champions.
His total offensive explosion was undoubtedly the main reason the Cats were able to defy tremendous odds to skid past favored Taiwan Beer.
“It’s been some time since I saw an individual take over a game as completely as [Tien] did,” Lee Yun-shiang, commentator and deputy secretary-general of the Chinese Taipei Basketball Association, said after the game.
Tien was virtually unstoppable, despite an apparent effort to contain him on the part of the Brew Crew. He made a dozen shots out of 20 from the field, including eight of the Tigers’ final 10 points to lift his team past a diehard Brew Crew who led for more than 25 minutes.
Taiwan Beer took a 21-13 lead after the opening quarter and added to it in the second to take a nine-point margin into halftime, thanks to a 14-point burst by forward Yang Jing-min.
After the defending champions took a double-digit lead early in the third quarter, the Tigers went on an 11-4 run in four minutes to make it a two-point game.
The game quickly turned into a seesaw battle, with both teams trading leads smaller than three points the rest of the way, until a pair of free throws by Tien with 1 minute, 3 seconds remaining put the Tigers 70-68 ahead for good.
Trailing by two with less than a minute to play, Taiwan Beer had two possessions to make their move, but a misfire by Yang at the free-throw line coupled with a turnover against the Amis Warrior late on kept them from turning the tide, as Taiwan Beer ended their season on a sour note.