The Taiwan Mobile Leopards took an eight-point lead at the half and upped it to a dozen through the third before holding off a fierce rally by the Yulon Luxgens to escape with a 70-67 win at the National Taiwan University of Physical Education and Sport Gymnasium in Greater Taichung yesterday.
Noel Felix had a big day at the office with a season-high 36 points and eight rebounds to lead an inconsistent Leopard offense that finally evened its record to 3-3, after many had picked them as serious title-contenders following a slew of off-season signings that include household names such as Wu Dai-hao, Ho Sho-cheng, Chen Shih-nian and Cheng Ren-wei.
“I’d like to thank the coaching staff for showing me plenty of patience over the first two weeks of play, when I did not play as well as I could have,” Felix said.
His timely surge will definitely spell trouble for the Leopards’ opponents down the line.
Failure to contain the inside play of the opposing center for the second straight game ultimately cost the Luxgens the match, as they gave up 34 points to the Dacin Tigers’ Rolando Howell on Saturday for a whopping 70 combined points over the two-game span, exposing their weakness in interior defense.
The Luxgens nearly pulled off an improbable comeback by pulling to within three of the Leopards after trailing by over a dozen, but it was too little, too late and they were forced to settle with a narrow loss that set them further back to a league-worst 1-5 mark after three weeks of play.
BANK OF TAIWAN 57, TIGERS 73
The Dacin Tigers made it two wins in a row by cruising past Bank of Taiwan in a 73-57 final last night to finish the weekend with a perfect 2-0 mark.
Newcomer Rolando Howell teamed up with fellow forward Tien Lei in another formidable performance as the Dacin scoring tandem combined to net 32 of the team’s 73 points. The Tigers also forced 17 turnovers off the Bankers to claim a decisive 17-9 edge in turnover differential that stifled the financial wizards.
KINMEN LIQUOR 78, PURE YOUTH 91
The defending champs from Pure Youth Construction roughed up Kinmen Liquor in a 91-78 decision in the weekend finale in Greater Taichung to improve their league-best record to a perfect 6-0.