Top-ranked Pure Youth Construction made it two wins in a row against worthy opponents by defeating the Dacin Tigers 91-78 at the Hsinchu Municipal Gymnasium last night to become the first squad in the SBL to collect 10 wins this season.
Tsai Wen-cheng and Keh Chi-hao teamed up to convert 12 of 12 free-throw attempts in the final quarter to account for 15 of the Builders’ 22 points.
Pure Youth held off a tenacious rally by the Tigers in the fourth that brought the Cats from 11 down to within two of their rivals, but was not enough to earn them the win.
Also starring for the two-time defending champions was forward Huang Chi-fong, who came off the bench to net 11 points in 21 minutes and give the starters some much-needed rest that ultimately gave the Builders the edge down the stretch.
Eight quick points by Tsai in the opening frame got things moving in the right direction as Pure Youth opened a 27-18 lead in a high-scoring first quarter.
Even though the Tigers would find their shooting range and improve their scoring production in the second quarter, it did not keep the Builders from claiming a double-digit advantage at the half, with Huang netting seven in the second to keep his team in stride with the Cats.
Trailing by 11, the Tigers looked to soft-spoken forward Chang Chia-rong to pick up the scoring slack in the third and he delivered with a dozen before rolling off a 7-0 run early in the fourth to make it a two-point game.
That was as close as the Cats got to victory, as the Builders hit the free-throws when they counted the most to fend off the Tigers.
LEOPARDS 85, BANK OF TAIWAN 76
The second-placed Taiwan Mobile Cloud Leopards also took care of business in their match against Bank of Taiwan to triumph in Hsinchu yesterday afternoon and keep pace with the Builders.
The win did not come easy for the Leopards, who nearly blew a 20-point lead in the second half to allow imported great Liam McMorrow to lead the Bankers to rally to within three midway through the fourth.
Yet despite the effort, Bank of Taiwan eventually faltered to lose the game by nine.
LUXGENS 80, KINMEN LIQUOR 76
The Yulon Luxgens closed out the weekend in Hsinchu on a high note with a sound victory over Kinmen Liquor last night to extend their winning streak to three games straight.