Outplaying the Dacin Tigers in the second half, Pure Youth Construction broke an otherwise close game wide open late in the third quarter and held off a late rally by the Tigers to win their second straight title by taking Game 6 of the championship finals 77-63 at the Sinjhuang Sports Complex in New Taipei City last night.
An 8-0 run over the final two minutes of the third turned a narrow 43-42 lead into a comfortable 51-42 margin that the Builders increased to 13 early in the fourth, before star center Quincy Davis fouled out of the game with more than eight-and-a-half minutes remaining.
The Tigers exploited the weakened Builders defense by pounding the ball inside the paint, with Orlando Howell and Tien Lei scoring at will from close range to bring their team to within six points.
Tsai Wen-cheng then took matters into his own hands by coming up big with several defensive rebounds over the final four minutes and converting three of four free -throw attempts down the stretch to secure the victory.
He was named the unanimous series MVP for his game-high 18 rebounds to go with his nine points on the night. Tsai’s outstanding contribution proved that the Builders could win in the absence of the foreign help (Davis) at a critical juncture in the game.
“All the credit should go to our local players as they really did a great job in Davis’ absence to keep [the Tigers] from coming back against us,” Pure Youth skipper Hsu Jin-tseh said after the game.
His players really rose to the occasion, despite allowing the Tigers to grab 40 rebounds (18 off the offensive glass) on the night.
Three first-half fouls on Howell set the Tigers back for a good part of the first half as they looked exclusively to top scorer Tien Lei for the bulk of their points.
Even though Tien and Howell combined for 34 of their team’s 63 points, it was too little, too late to help them pull off the upset win as the Builders were simply too strong to cough up the lead.