The Hualien Probation Cup Basketball Tournament got off to a fast start with the Taiwan Mobile Cloud Leopards topping Kinmen Liquor 84-80 at the Hualien County Sports Complex yesterday afternoon.
The five-day competition, which features South Korea’s KT Sports, the Elite Talent Exchange of the US and six of Taiwan’s seven Super Basketball League (SBL) teams will also serve as an exhibition round of play for the SBL, which lifted its long-standing height limit on foreign players in an effort to boost its level of competition.
“We are very excited to host this event for the 12th year,” tournament commissioner Lin Yo-chih said at a press conference earlier this week.
Disappointing none was the opening battle between the Leopards and the Distillers, in which the Distillers rallied from as many as 22 down to fall within three of the Leopards, before falling short in the closing minutes to lose by four points.
It was a big win for Taiwan Mobile skipper Cheng Chih-lung, whose second tour at the helm will definitely be the focal point in the upcoming SBL season.
TIGERS 93, TAIWAN BEER 84
The Dacin Tigers roughed up Taiwan Beer for the second straight year in their opener of the competition with a 93-84 victory, despite an outstanding 34-point effort by Taiwan Beer newcomer Scott Merritt.
The two teams played to a 20-all draw after a hard fought first quarter, before the Cats skidded ahead by four to close out the first half with a 44-40 advantage.
Neither team really had the upper hand in the third quarter, which saw the Brew Crew halve the deficit to two before the Cats decided to shift gears with a 23-16 run in the final quarter to earn the nine-point win.