Tien Lei netted a game-high 33 points and Lo Yu-chun scored nine of his team’s final 18 points as the Dacin Tigers overcame a six-point deficit in the fourth quarter to defeat top seeds Pure Youth Construction 73-70 in Game 3 of the SBL Championship series at the Kaohsiung Arena last night.
The win not only got the Cats in the win column as they trail the defending champions by a 2-1 margin in the best-of-seven series, but more importantly it kept the Builders from taking a commanding 3-0 lead that would have virtually guaranteed them the title, as no team has ever come back from a 0-3 deficit to win the title in league history.
“We never lost faith in ourselves and that was the difference in the game,” Lo said.
The point man, who filled in competently for the injured Wang Yu-chuin throughout the regular season, led a Dacin comeback that included a nerve-rattling three-pointer, a strong drive to the hoop for two and a crucial steal that denied Pure Youth a chance to tie the game up in the final 75 seconds of the contest.
His timely resurgence with Tien being double-covered during most of the second half was the winning edge for the Cats.
With their backs to the wall after dropping the first two games of the series, the Tigers came out firing in the opening quarter, with Tien accounting for seven of their first 16 points. He then doubled his scoring output in the second quarter to help his team take a 34-29 lead at halftime.
The Tigers increased their lead to an even dozen in the first three minutes of the second half, before the Builders rallied for an 13-3 run to pull within two and set up four straight free throws by Quincy Davis on a technical foul on Tigers center Rolando Howell in a six-point turnaround that made it a one-point game.
Pure Youth went ahead by six midway through the fourth quarter on the strength of Quincy Davis’ low-post play, before Lo decided to take matters into his own hands with a brilliant finishing scoring run to save the day for his team.
Game 4 of the series takes place tomorrow.