Overcoming a three-point halftime deficit with a brilliant performance, the Dacin Tigers exploded to score 49 points in the second half to defeat Pure Youth Construction 81-70 in Game 4 of the championship finals at the Sinjhuang Sports Complex in New Taipei City last night.
The win not only proved that the Cats can win under pressure, but more importantly, it evened out the best-of-seven series at two wins apiece as they looked to come back from a 0-2 deficit to win their second title.
Chang Jia-rong vindicated skipper Hsu Chih-chao’s decision to start the rookie forward for the second straight game, as Chang netted 10 points in the decisive third quarter to help give the Tigers the lead for good in the series equalizer.
“[Chang] really deserves a lot of credit for having the courage to take the big shots, let alone making them,” Hsu said after the game. “It was a gamble that paid off for us.”
His Tigers fell behind by five in the opening minutes, but quickly regained their composure to trail the defending champs by one point after one quarter of play with Tien Lei and Chang accounting for 10 of the first 16 points.
After a hard-fought second quarter, which saw Chien Jia-hong score nine to lead the Builders against the Tigers —who looked to Howell for the bulk of their scoring — the two teams would settle for a 35-32 score at the half.
Two three-pointers shot by Chang against a tough Builder defense were the highlight of a 27-point third as the Tigers outscored their opponents 27-18 to take a six-point lead into the final quarter.
Even though Pure Youth attempted to rally in the fourth with the trademark transition game that brought them to within five of the Tigers, their three-pointers did not succeed when it mattered most as the Tigers held their ground in the closing minutes to deny the Youth any realistic chance of mounting a comeback.
The two teams will take today off before returning to Sinjhuang tomorrow night for Game 5 with the tipoff scheduled for 7pm.