Sat, Apr 06, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Tigers win to remain in playoff contention

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

While the Fubon Braves and Taiwan Beer have clinched the top spots, the bottom half of the playoff Super Basketball League (SBL) picture remains unclear after the Dacin Tigers on Thursday edged Kinmen Kaoliang to lift themselves into a three-way tie for fourth place.

American point guard O.J. Mayo scored the winning basket with three seconds left in the game to complete a 24-point turnaround for the Tigers, who prevailed over Kinmen 84-83 at Banciao Stadium in New Taipei City.

The eight-year NBA veteran, mostly with the Memphis Grizzlies and Milwaukee Bucks, put on a stellar display to post 37 points in the game, 16 of them in the final quarter, while teammate Lin Yi-hui scored 17 points.

Kinmen Kaoliang had a quick start, scoring 22 and 26 points in the first two quarters to go ahead 48-26 at the intermission and extending the lead to 24 points in the third quarter.

However, Mayo and Lin took charge to gradually narrow the gap, with the Tigers finally catching up with 16 seconds remaining, when Mayo stole the ball and drained a three-pointer to make the score 82-82.

On the next possession, Kinmen’s big American center Garret Siler was fouled, and he made one of two free throws to go up by one with the clock winding down.

Mayo then dribbled inside the paint and went up between two defenders to sink the winning field goal to edge Kinmen by one point.

“When you concentrate on making plays, good things will happen... In the second half, we pushed our game to them and had better concentration, and we were lucky also,” Mayo said after the game.

Siler had a robust game, finishing with a double-20 with 26 points and 22 rebounds, while Croatian forward Zoran Vrkic scored 12 points and secured seven rebounds for Kinmen.

Kinmen knew that they had missed the opportunity to secure fourth place after blowing the big lead.

“The coaches and players all did their job, but we just cannot accept losing the game this way,” Siler said.

Kinmen could have won, but wasted too many chances, he said.

“This is not the result we want... We have the ability to defeat most other SBL teams, but have to improve on keeping the lead,” Siler said.

In Wednesday’s evening match at Banciao Stadium, Pauian Archiland ensured a third-place finish by beating Taiwan Beer 91-87.

Heading into this weekend’s final games, the Braves have secured the top spot, followed by Taiwan Beer and Pauian Archiland.

The Yulon Dinos remain in contention for the final berth, as do the Tigers and Kinmen, with all three tied on 17-18 records and just one game remaining each.

Last night, the top-ranked Braves outlasted Bank of Taiwan 88-80 at Banciao Stadium.

After a relatively close first quarter, the Braves pulled away in the second.

However, the Bankers rallied in the third and continued closing the gap in the final quarter, but the Braves held on to win.

Bank of Taiwan, who were 8-27 before last night’s contest, have been eliminated from post-season contention.

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