Holding the Yulon Luxgens scoreless for nearly six minutes in the decisive fourth quarter, Pure Youth Construction overcame a lethargic third quarter to come out on top 69-67 in Game 3 of their SBL semi-final series at the Taipei Physical Education College Gymnasium in Tianmu last night.
The win not only gave the defending champions a 2-1 advantage in the best-of-seven series that will send the winners into the championship series, but also proved that the Builders can win the close games too after they had breezed past most of their opponents during the regular season with an incredible 26-4 record to storm into the post-season.
Nine quick points by James Mao led the way for Pure Youth as they took a slim 21-18 lead in the opening frame and they added four to the cushion with a solid second quarter to close out the first half with a 41-34 lead.
The halftime deficit did not rattle the Luxgens, though, as they swarmed back with a tremendous third quarter behind a fine effort by veteran Lee Chi-yi and hired gun Herve Lamizana, who led to a 10-0 run midway through the quarter to tie the game at 49-49.
Yulon actually led by as many as seven points at the six-minute mark in the fourth, before an all-out defensive effort by the Builders held them scoreless until the closing seconds of the contest.
“We know defense wins games in the post-season and that was exactly what happened tonight — we played ‘tough D’ as a team and I am glad we came out ahead in the end,” Mao said after the game.
Yulon had several opportunities to close the gap during the five-plus minute scoring drought in the fourth quarter with nine free-throw attempts, but they managed to convert only three, including six straight misses at crucial junctures as they self-destructed.
Yesterday’s other result:
‧Leopards 65, Tigers 62