Scoring four of Taiwan Beer’s final five points in the game, Patrick O’Bryant came up big in the final minute of play to lift his team past the Yulon Luxgens in a 65-61 final at the Sinjhuang Sports Complex in New Taipei City last night, for an important win that will likely clinch a playoff berth for the Brew Crew.
The former NBA star, who was held to only six points over the final three-quarters in Friday’s loss to Pure Youth Construction, after starting off the game with 11 in the opening quarter in a devastating loss that dealt a tremendous blow to the Brew Crew’s team confidence, saved his best for last as he took matters in his own hands in the decisive moments of the contest against Yulon to deliver the victory. O’Bryant ended up with a season-high 34 points on the night to add to his league-leading 21.5 points-per-game average.
“It was a huge win for us, because another loss would have sunk us mentally, which is what we don’t want at this juncture of the season,” Taiwan Beer skipper Yen Chia-hua said after the game.
His troops are one win shy of making it to the playoffs, after missing the opportunity with a disappointing showing last season.
With their postseason hopes on the line, Yulon opened the contest with a tough defense that held the Brew Crew to an uncharacteristically low 11 points in the first quarter for a 14-11 advantage, before adding to the margin by one in the second quarter to close out the first half with a 29-25 lead.
However, Taiwan Beer simply would not lie down and they came back strong in the second half with a 22-11 run to claim a six-point lead to start the fourth-quarter.
Yulon managed to tie the game at 60-all with 1.35 minutes remaining in the game and actually led it 61-60 on a free throw by Lee Te-wei with 1:23 minutes left on the clock before O’Bryant scored Taiwan Beer’s next four points to give the two-time champs the lead for good.
Trailing by three, Yulon had a good opportunity to make it a one-point game when Hu Kai-shiang had a clear path to the basket from the baseline on a layup attempt with 41 seconds remaining in the game.
However, the rookie forward missed the bank off the back board that gave Taiwan Beer possession of the ball to seal the deal.
PURE YOUTH 81, KINMEN LIQUOR 79
Top-ranked Pure Youth Construction dodged a big bullet with a timely put-back basket from Quincy Davis in the closing seconds to edge past Kinmen Liquor in an 81-79 thriller in Sinjhuang yesterday afternoon.
The two-time defending champs took a 12-point lead after the opening quarter and watched it dwindle to a slight deficit before rallying from behind late in the game to clinch the valiant victory.
In other play, it was:
‧ Leopards 89, Tigers 68