Top-ranked Pure Youth Construction avoided what would have been an embarrassing defeat against Bank of Taiwan by outscoring the red-hot Bankers 9-3 in the final three minutes to escape with a 65-62 win at the Banciao Gymnasium in New Taipei City last night.
Tsai Wen-cheng saved his best for last by netting his team’s final five points to bail the four-time defending champions out of a big jam that saw them squander a 20-point advantage at halftime.
They trailed the Bankers by as many as three points with less than three minutes to play, before pulling off a valiant 9-3 run to claim the victory.
Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times
“The shot became open just as coach Ben drew it up on the board, so I took it as soon as I could, and the rest is history,” Tsai said of his game-turning three-pointer — a beautiful basket off the backboard after the Builders captain received a perfect feed from Darian Townes.
Tsai grabbed a clutch defensive rebound down the other end of the floor on the ensuing play, before nailing a pair of free throws in the closing seconds to seal the deal.
Winners of three of their four previous meeting, the Builders came out firing, with Keh Chi-hao connecting on three straight three-pointers in the opening frame to open up a 22-11 lead after the first quarter.
A 6-2 run by the Bankers at the start of the second quarter reduced the deficit to fewer than 10, before Pure Youth answered with a 10-0 run of their own late in the second to close out the first half with a 40-20 cushion.
Bank of Taiwan opened the second half with a quick 6-0 run and managed to get to within a dozen points by the end of the third, with Luke Nevill downing 10 in the quarter.
Nevill scored nine of the Bankers’ next 15 points in a 15-5 run to cut the deficit to two, before Lee Wei-che and Yu Chuan-an combined for five straight to give their team an unbelievable 59-56 lead with 2 minutes, 50 seconds remaining.
That was as close as the Bankers got, though, as Tsai took over from that point to salvage the victory.
Luxgens 78, Taiwan Beer 69
The Yulon Luxgens made it two wins in a row by topping Taiwan Beer in the second game in New Taipei City last night to close out their weekend with a 2-0 record.
Lu “Male Model” Cheng-ju erupted for 11 points in the third quarter, including a pair of three-pointers for the Automakers as they cracked open a 38-38 deadlock at the halftime with a 22-17 scoring differential in the third quarter to claim the lead for good.
Lu finished with 26 points.
Taiwan Beer’s failure to keep Yulon off the glass led to a 47-39 rebound advantage for the Automakers, which proved costly for the Brew Crew, who missed a golden opportunity to keep pace with top-ranked Pure Youth, who went three wins clear at the top of the standings.
In the next round of games on Thursday, the Fubon Braves take on the Dacin Tigers, before Bank of Taiwan face the Yulon Luxgens in the late game.
On Friday, Taiwan Beer take on the Fubon Braves in the early game in Banciao, before Pure Youth Construction tackle Kinmen Kaoliang.
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