Rolando Howell racked up a season-high 34 points and Tien Lei came out of a recent slump with a monstrous dunk in the fourth quarter as the Dacin Tigers edged the Yulon Luxgens 72-69 at the National Taiwan University of Physical Education and Sport Gymnasium in Taichung yesterday afternoon.
The win lifted the Cats out of the cellar in the standings and provided a much-needed confidence boost as they look to regain their wining form under the leadership of new coach Hsu Chih-chao.
“It was a big win for us because we haven’t been this flat in years,” Tien said after the game, referring to the fact that the Tigers had never begun a season at 1-3 prior to this year.
They have also made it into the postseason in all but one of the past nine seasons, appearing in four of the last five championship finals.
Tien’s timely surge could be bad news for their opponents down the line.
The Luxgens led by as many as 10 with a three-point attack that forced the Tigers out of their game plan of defending against the inside play of hired gun Colby Batiste. However, the Tigers rode on the red-hot hands of Howell, who had 20 points at the half.
An 8-0 run by the Tigers in the third gave them a five-point cushion, only for the Luxgens to answer with a buzzer-beating three-pointer to grab a 58-55 lead through the third, setting the stage for a Tigers’ fourth-quarter comeback.
PURE YOUTH 76, BANK OF TAIWAN 67
Pure Youth Construction downed Bank of Taiwan 76-67 in the second game in Taichung last night.
Fresh off an upset win over Taiwan Beer the night before, the Bankers had every reason to believe they could pull off another shock against the defending champs.
That would not be the case as the Builders opened the contest with 23 quick points in the first quarter in front of their home crowd and never looked back. Point guard Chen Shih-jeh led the scoring with 29 points on the night to deny the Bankers.
Even though the outcome of the game did not go the Bankers’ way, keeping the deficit to under 10 points should be considered a moral victory given that they lost their most reliable scorer (Hsu Chih-chiang) to a knee injury the night before and have been blown out by the Builders more often than not in the past.
TAIWAN BEER 76, KINMEN LIQUOR 72
Taiwan Beer needed a strong fourth quarter to offset a dismal third as they came from behind to top Kinmen Liquor 76-72 in the final game in Taichung last night.