Sun, Jan 23, 2005 - Page 24

Early foul trouble took away not only Lin "the Beast" Chih-jeh's desire to drive the ball strong to the hoop, but more importantly the Taiwan Beer scoring machine's confidence on the floor during the second half in a devastating 83-64 loss to the Yulon Dinos on Friday.

What was once a closely fought first half (33-33 at halftime) turned into an all-Dinos mismatch as the defending champs outscored the beer crew, winners of five straight prior to Friday's setback, by a 50-31 margin to avenge a one-point loss earlier in the season and extend their own winning streak to a season-high six in a row.

"Hats off to Chen Chih-chung's blanket coverage of `the Beast,'" Dinos' head coach Lee Yun-kuan said after the game.

Dinos big man Tseng Wen-ding also proved that his recent Player of the Week honor was no fluke by blocking seven shots -- a season-high for the second-year center.

Tseng leads the league in blocked-shots, averaging nearly two per contest.

Bank of Taiwan 78, Lions 75

The battle between the Bank of Taiwan and the Sina Lions, two clubs that are in desperate need of snapping four-game and eight-game losing streaks, respectively, ended in favor of the bankers as Luo Hsin-liang's game-tying three-point attempt bounced off the rim for the Lions in the 78-75 decision on Friday night.

The big cats had several chances to at least force a tie in the closing seconds of the game, but failed to do so.

Down by one point with just under 18 seconds left on the clock and the bankers' Wu Yung-ren having missed back-to-back free throw attempts, the Lions could have easily gained possession of the ball for the last shot to win the game with a routine defensive rebound.

But instead, they managed to let Bank of Taiwan's Lin Chun-fong sneak past two Lions defenders for the crucial offensive board and the put-back shot attempt that resulted in a foul and two made free throws, giving the bankers a three-point lead with 12.7 seconds left on the clock.

Lions' veteran forward Hsu Yung-yi's inability to sink the first two of the three free throws after being fouled by a banker on a three-point attempt with 2.3 seconds left on the clock, led to his intentional miss on the third attempt and ultimately cost his team the game.

The victory helped complete an amazing comeback by the Bank of Taiwan, who rallied from being down by as many as 19 points in the first half.

"All we can do is keep working hard on our weaknesses and hopefully things will go our way one day," Lions' assistant coach Hu Chung-chun said after his team's heartbreaking loss.