The Yulon Luxgens pulled off mission impossible by upending top-seeded Pure Youth Construction 78-74 at the Taipei Physical Education College Gymnasium in Tianmu last night to take the all-important Game 1 of the SBL semi-final series between the two.
What should have been an easy win for the defending champs, who had won all five of their regular-season contests against their opponents, turned into a dogfight as the Luxgens rallied to upset the Builders.
Leading the way for the Luxgens was point man Chen Chih-chung, who did not have a big game statistically, with only 12 points and four assists to his credit, but managed to bring out the best of his teammates at critical junctures of the game to keep them in the game long enough to pull off the upset win.
“There is no doubt that [Chen] is a critical part of our team, because he does so many other things so well to make the rest of the team much better players,” Yulon shooter Lu Cheng-rue said after the game.
Two of Lu’s four three-pointers in the game came as result of Chen’s brilliant passes.
After a solid first quarter that saw Pure Youth attain a 21-16 cushion on the fine play of Tsai Wen-cheng and Quincy Davis, whose 14 combined points accounted for the bulk of their team’s total offense, the Luxgens quickly regrouped to keep the deficit at five at the half.
Yulon erased took a 49-48 lead with two minutes remaining in the third on the strength of Lu’s three, before four unanswered points by the Builders gave them a 54-51 lead to start the fourth.
A 6-2 run by Pure Youth gave them a 60-53 lead before the Luxgens answered with a 10-0 run of their own to go 63-60 ahead, an advantage they never relinquished despite an all-out onslaught by Pure Youth late in the game.
Tempers flared in the closing moments of the contest as Lu was called for unsportsmanlike conduct for intentionally tripping Davis, which led to a near-all-out brawl between the two teams and several Yulon fans.
TIGERS 85, LEOPARDS 80
The Dacin Tigers opened with a 16-0 lead in the first four minutes of the game and held on to defeat the Taiwan Mobile Cloud Leopards in Game 1 of the other semi-final series in Tianmu last night.