Sun, Apr 03, 2016 - Page 20 News List

Braves pull off improbable victory over the Builders

By Paul Huang  /  Contributing reporter

Rallying from a double-digit deficit in the first half, the Fubon Braves yesterday pulled off an improbable victory by outscoring top-seeded Pure Youth Construction 12-5 in the final five minutes of play to run away with a 76-68 win to take the all-important first game of the semi-finals.

Earl Barron had another huge day at the office with a game-high 22 points and 18 rebounds for the underdogs after an outstanding three-game set for the Braves in the first round in which he averaged 29.7 points and 21 rebounds per contest to help his team steamroll past the Yulon Luxgens.

Also starring was fellow guard Joseph Lin, who racked up nine points and as many assists — several of which came during crucial moments of the game — to turn back a very strong Builders squad that might have underestimated their opponents prior to the start of the best-of-seven series.

A near-sellout crowd at the Sinjhuang Sports Complex in New Taipei City saw the four-time defending champions come out firing with a 16-9 run in the opening frame, with five points from big man Darian Townes before settling for a 26-14 lead after the first quarter.

However, the high-powered Pure Youth offense soon ran into a pesky Fubon defense that caused the Builders’ shooters to alter their shots just enough to miss several short-range baskets and cut their lead to 38-31 at halftime.

Pure Youth manage to reclaim a 10-point advantage midway through the third quarter, with Doug Creighton and Keh Chi-hao combining for a quick 5-0 run.

That was the extent of the Builders control, with the Braves promptly answering with a 14-8 run to keep it at a four-point game before orchestrating an 8-0 run early in the fourth quarter to take a 62-61 lead with less than seven minutes of play remaining on the clock.

The Builders had their chances to put the game away down the stretch, but failed against a foul-troubled Barron who was called for his fourth foul with about five minutes remaining in the game. That left the door open for Fubon, who came up with several clutch defensive stops to keep their lead.

“We came up with some big defensive plays in the fourth to help us win it in the end,” Barron said after the game.

He will need to maintain his poise in tonight’s match as the four-time defending champs are sure to give him all they have to even the series.

TIGERS 90, TAIWAN BEER 95, OT

In the other semi-final match in New Taipei City, second-seeded Taiwan Beer overcame a game-tying three by Lin Guan-luen to send the game into overtime before topping the Cats with a 95-90 margin in the extra session to take a 1-0 lead in their best-of-seven series.

Liu Cheng celebrated his Defensive Player of the Year selection by downing a game-high 28 to lead the Brew Crew in their quest to reach the finals for the second-straight year.

Taiwan Beer watched their 13-point second-half lead dwindle away with the diehard Tigers lighting up the scoreboard with 29 points in the fourth quarter to turn what should have been an easy win into an overtime thriller.

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