Behind a spectacular 27-point effort by Patrick O’Bryant, Taiwan Beer took a double-digit lead in the first half and held off a late rally by the Dacin Tigers to run away with an 86-79 victory at the Sinjhuang Sports Complex in New Taipei City last night to kick off the Lunar New Year in grand fashion.
The league-leading scorer who has been the heart and soul of the Taiwan Beer offense continued to make a strong case for the season’s Most Valuable Player award by showing off his exceptional range, with several mid-range jumpers on the night to complement his low-post moves in an awesome all-around performance.
It was precisely his versatility which disrupted the Dacin defensive scheme against the Brew Crew offense and led to many uncontested lay ups for the two-time league champions.
“[O’Bryant] had a great outing tonight,” Tigers coach Hsu Chih-chao said after the game.
His troops fought hard on a night which they did not start well, missing their first seven shots from the field in the opening quarter to fall 9-0 behind after the first 3 minutes, 30 seconds of the contest.
Even though the Cats would regroup in a hurry to keep the deficit to less than 10 by the end of the first quarter, it did not stop the Brew Crew from adding to their cushion in the second, with O’Bryant and his team enjoying a double-digit lead for a good part of the first half.
After a small run by the Tigers brought them to within six early in the third, Taiwan Beer poured in four straight to reclaim a 10-point margin, before Lin Guan-luen scored eight unanswered points for the Tigers to make it a two-point game with three minutes remaining in the quarter.
That was as close as they got as Taiwan Beer promptly regrouped with a small run of their own, highlighted by Liu Chan’s last-second runway slam dunk off a terrific steal, to make it 57-47 in favor of the Brew Crew by the end of the third.
Trailing by as many as 18 points with less than four minutes to play, the Tigers mustered one final counterattack that included several three-pointers to pull within five with less than a minute to play, but it was too little, too late as the Brew Crew converted their free throws down the stretch to keep the victory intact.
PURE YOUTH 78, LUXGENS 70
Pure Youth Construction played a strong fourth quarter to rally past the Yulon Luxgens in the second game in Sinjhuang last night.