The SBL finals continued at the Sinjhuang Sports Complex in New Taipei City last night with Pure Youth Construction downing the Dacin Tigers 75-72 in Game 3 to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Chen “Airman” Hsin-an saved his best for last by knocking in four three-pointers in the decisive fourth to account for 14 of his team’s 26 fourth-quarter points, rallying the Builders from a four-point deficit at the start of the quarter to claim the crucial victory.
“Someone had to come up big in a game like this, and I was not alone, as [Tsai] Wen-cheng and Doug [Creighton] also came up big tonight,” a modest Chen said after the game.
His post-season experience and leadership was definitely the game-turning factor for the Builders, who are one win shy of their first-ever title.
“This is exactly why we brought [Chen] in during the off-season,” a very emotional Pure Youth skipper Hsu Jin-tseh said after the game.
Chen scored five points through the third quarter, before taking over the game in the fourth.
Also starring for the Builders were Tsai and Creighton, who nailed clutch shots in the fourth quarter, with the Tigers putting up a tenacious fight to reduce a five-point deficit with a minute to go to two points, before misfiring on their final four attempts to suffer the disheartening loss.
Dacin came out firing in the opening frame by holding the regular-season champions to 11 points to enjoy a surprising 18-11 lead after the first quarter, but the Builders regained their composure to keep it a two-point game at the half, with Game 1 hero Chen Shih-jeh netting seven in the second quarter.
Five straight points by Tsai at the start of the second half actually put Pure Youth ahead 34-31, before the Tigers reclaimed the lead with Tien Lei and Chen Tzu-wei scoring seven points apiece to give their team a four-point cushion by the end of the third, setting the stage for the Builders’ formidable finish.
Game 4 is tomorrow in Sinjhuang, with the tipoff scheduled for 7pm.