Sun, Nov 29, 2015 - Page 20 News List

Braves clinch SBL opener

By Paul Huang  /  Contributing reporter

Players and officials yesterday line the court during the SBL season-opening ceremony at the Banciao Gymnasium in New Taipei City.

Photo: Lin Cheng-kung, Taipei Times

Rallying from a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter, the Fubon Braves outscored the Yulon Luxgens 27-18 in the final frame to escape with an 81-80 win in the season opener last night.

The sellout crowd at the Banciao Gymnasium in New Taipei City was treated to a high-intensity game in which the Luxgens led for most of the second half before the Braves’ Joseph Lin took matters into his own hands, scoring his team’s final four points to lift them past their foes.

“It is great to be able to help our club win,” Lin said after the game. “I’d like to thank my teammates for their support and believing in me.”

There is no doubt that he is trying to establish himself without being constantly reminded about being NBA star Jeremy Lin’s younger brother.

With his team trailing late in the game, the Fubon guard put in a lay-up with 18 seconds remaining to pull his team to within a point of the Luxgens before nailing a pair of free throws with less than 10 seconds on the clock to put the Braves ahead for good.

Four three’s by the Braves in the opening quarter, including a pair from newcomer Earl Barron of the US, spotted the favorites a 19-14 advantage after one quarter.

The Automakers answered the challenge with a solid second quarter, in which big man Magnum Rolle and forward Chou Po-chen combined for 11 of their team’s 24 points, while keeping the Braves to 14 in the quarter to take a 38-33 lead at the half.

Yulon added to their lead in the third quarter with three’s from Rolle and Chou Shih-yuan before the Braves rallied behind the red-hot shooting of Lin in the fourth to escape with a thrilling win.

Failure to secure the defensive glass by Yulon, which led to five offensive rebounds for the Braves, proved costly, as it gave the victors just enough second-chance opportunities to keep the game within their reach for the knockout blow.

Besides going down on the scoreboard, the Luxgens also lost Chou to an apparently serious knee injury. The veteran shooting guard slipped in the closing seconds after converting five of six of nine from beyond the three-point line to help his club nearly pull off an upset win.

PURE YOUTH 72, TAIWAN BEER 78

Taiwan Beer knocked off four-time defending champions Pure Youth Construction in the second game in New Taipei City last night to start the new season on a high.

Liu Cheng knocked down a tiebreaking three with less than four minutes to play and followed up with two free-throws to give the Brew Crew the lead the rest of the way.

The win not only dealt the Builders a rare loss in a season opener, but also avenged a bitter defeat Taiwan Beer suffered against them in last season’s Championship Finals.

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