Saving the best for last, the Taiwan Mobile Cloud Leopards earned an 84-76 win over Dongguan New Century at the Taipei Physical Education College Gymnasium in Tianmu yesterday afternoon to close out the five-day Taiwan Strait Tournament on a high note.
Winless in their first four contests against worthy opponents, the Leopards had every reason to be wary before their final match against New Century, who had already sealed first-place with a perfect 4-0 record prior to the game.
“I played the starters a lot more than I would have in a tune-up game because a win today would mean a lot to us,” Taiwan Mobile head coach Cheng Chih-lung said after the game.
All five of his starters averaged over 31 minutes of floor time on the day, with budding star Chang Rong-hsuan playing a game-high 35 minutes.
Newcomer Luke Nevill had his best game in Taiwan thus far with 18 points and 16 rebounds for the Leopards, while the New Century’s hired gun Donte Greene led all scorers with 26 points.
“It’s been a great tournament as far as giving us a chance to run the various schemes we’ve worked on and providing the younger players with some playing time,” Dongguan’s Australian coach Brian Goojian said after the game.
TIGERS 77, LUXGENS 74
The Dacin Tigers managed to claim a second-place finish with a win over the Yulon Luxgens in Tianmu last night, thanks to a 31-point fourth that rallied them from as many as a dozen down in the second half.
Lin Guan-luen proved that his MVP nomination was no fluke as he racked up a game-high 30 points on the night, several of which came during the decisive fourth to give his team the top finish among the Taiwanese squads in this year’s competition.
SHANDONG 99, PURE YOUTH 72
Shandong Kingston roughed up Pure Youth Construction in the final game of the tournament with a 99-72 blowout that humbled the defending SBL champs.