Chen Tzu-wei lived up to his “Mr Fourth Quarter” reputation with spectacular late-game magic to guide Pure Youth Construction past the Taiwan Mobile Cloud Leopards in an 89-85 thriller at the National Taiwan University of Physical Education and Sport Gymnasium in Taichung last night.
The former Dacin Tiger standout nailed a desperation three-pointer with 2.4 seconds remaining in regulation time to force extra time and dominated the remainder of the game, which included a pair of free throws with 4.8 seconds left.
“This is why we got [Chen] during the offseason, because [not being able to win in the clutch] has been a weakness for us in the past,” Pure Youth coach Hsu Chin-che said after the game.
The Builders clinched the top-seed berth in the upcoming post-season with the win.
The showdown between the top two teams in the league in a likely matchup for the finals was anything but close in the first half, with the Leopards holding the Builders to a season-low six points in the second quarter after a relatively even first quarter to enjoy a 39-31 cushion at the half.
The two-time defending champs were not rattled as they chipped away at the deficit by rolling off a 9-2 run in the fourth to claim their first lead in the second half.
The Leopards thought they had the game wrapped up when Chang Rong-hsuan sank both free throws with 10.4 seconds remaining, but Chen’s game-tying three gave the Builders the momentum.
LUXGENS 76, BANK OF TAIWAN 52
The Yulon Luxgens picked up a much-needed win over Bank of Taiwan in a blowout in Taichung yesterday afternoon, keeping their slim post-season hopes alive.
KINMEN LIQUOR 80, TIGERS 56
Kinmen Liquor dealt the Dacin Tigers’ post-season hopes a blow with a win the Cats needed to keep pace with the Yulon Luxgens in the hunt for the last playoff berth.