Wu Dai-hao’s pair of free throws with 5.9 seconds remaining in the second overtime broke a 76-all tie as the Taiwan Mobile Cloud Leopards rallied from five down with a minute left in regulation time to top Taiwan Beer 78-76 in Game 7 of the semi-finals at the Sinjhuang Sports Complex in New Taipei City last night to advance into the Championship finals.
They were the only points that the big man scored in the second half against his former team, but the most important points for the Leopards, who needed two extra sessions against a feisty Brew Crew to pick up the gutsy victory.
“I am glad [the game-winning free throws] both went in, because we weren’t about to play a third overtime,” Wu said after the game.
They were spared a third overtime in a game they should have lost in regulation, despite enjoying a double-digit lead at the half.
Trailing by two, Taiwan Beer had one crack at winning the game with a long three-point attempt by Lu Chi-min with three seconds left on the clock and another shot at tying it on Lui Chan’s put-back attempt off Lu’s miss with the clock expiring, but neither fell for them as the buzzer sounded.
The Leopards came out firing with a 14-2 run to open the contest, thanks to Chang Rong-hsuan’s four quick baskets.
However, the Brew Crew returned the favor right away, with Lu Chi-min downing three three-pointers to make it a 17-13 lead for the Leopards after one quarter of play.
Poor shooting on the part of Taiwan Beer, coupled with a pair of transition baskets by the Leopards in the second quarter, helped the Leopards extend their lead by seven to end the half with a 35-24 advantage.
That set up a second-half comeback by Taiwan Beer, who kept it a four-point game after three quarters, before a seesaw fourth that saw them blow a five-point lead to allow the Leopards to force overtime.