Tien Lei’s clutch three-pointer, which bounced around the rim twice before going in, broke a 72-all tie with under 30 seconds remaining in the game to give Taiwan a 75-72 lead as the hosts rallied from as many as nine down in the fourth quarter to baffle South Korea 77-72 at the Taipei Physical Education College Gymnasium in Tianmu last night to close out the William Jones Cup with 5-3 record.
“All the credit should go to the coaches for encouraging me to keep shooting the ball, even though some weren’t dropping for me,” Tien said after the game.
The Dacin Tigers forward, who had not played as well as he could have prior to last night’s tournament finale, finally rose to the occasion by erupting for three three’s in the game-turning fourth on a 22-point night to rally the home squad past the South Koreans for a four-place finish in this year’s play.
As expected, the visitors came out firing in the opening frame with 27 points to take a double-digit lead after one quarter of play.
However, that did not rattle the Taiwanese as they held South Korea to nine points in the second quarter, while downing 15 to keep it a five-point game (36-31) at the half.
The deficit remained at five after the third with South Korea relying on its three-point attack with four threes in the quarter to counter Taiwan’s superior play inside the paint.
The visitors upped their lead to nine early in the fourth, with foreign help Juan Patillo connecting for six quick points, only to spark an all-out comeback by Taiwan who looked to Tien and fellow forward Lin “the Beast” Chih-jeh with 18 combined points to garner the thrilling victory.
In other Jones Cup play, it was:
‧ Iran 87, Jordan 74
‧ Japan 89, Lebanon 70
‧ Philippines 76, US 75
1. The Philippines
3. United States
5. South Korea
9. Taiwan Guan-hua