The Taiwan Mobile Cloud Leopards rallied to overcome Taiwan Beer after overcoming a sluggish start that saw them fall behind by as many as 11 points in the first four minutes, but come out 77-68 winners at the National Taiwan University of Physical Education and Sport Gymnasium in Greater Taichung last night.
It was a big win for the Leopards following their disheartening loss to top-ranked Pure Youth Construction in overtime the night before and provided them with a much-needed confidence boost.
Cheng Ren-wei put in a huge effort against his former club, and the Leopards rode on the sharpshooter’s coattails on their way to the victory.
The former National Taiwan Normal University student’s game-high 19 points off the bench, including a trio of three-pointers that all came at critical junctures in the match, was the main reason that the Leopards came out ahead in a game Taiwan Beer had several opportunities to close out.
Also starring for Taiwan Mobile was Lin Yao-tsong, whose season-high 16 points could not have come at a handier time, as skipper Cheng Chih-lung intentionally rested several of his starters in an effort to give his reserves more floor time.
With the third-seed berth in the post-season already secured and wanting to rest their best offensive threat, Patrick O’Bryant, the Brew Crew gave their reserves more playing time than usual, which might have contributed to the loss, which carried minimal bearing as far as their post-season chances are concerned.
PURE YOUTH 89, BANK OF TAIWAN 68
Top-ranked Pure Youth Construction extended their winning streak to 17 straight against bottom-of-the-table Bank of Taiwan with a convincing trouncing in the first game in Taichung yesterday afternoon.
After winning an overtime thriller that came about after a game-tying three by Chen Tzu-wei forced an extra period against the Leopards the night before, the Builders left nothing to chance yesterday as they jumped to a 21-16 lead after the first quarter and steadily added to the cushion throughout the game with great performances by Lin Chin-bang (20 points) and Huang Chih-fong (14 points) on their way to a blowout win.
Even though the Bankers managed to rally to within a point early in the second half, the two-time defending champs proved too strong for them in the fourth and denied them any chance of an improbable comeback.
KINMEN LIQUOR 62, LUXGENS 68
The Yulon Luxgens knocked Kinmen Liquor out of playoff contention with a narrow victory over the Distillers in the weekend’s final game in Taichung last night.
The win earned the Luxgens a full-game lead over the fifth-placed Dacin Tigers in the standings, setting the stage for Saturday’s showdown against the Cats, with the winner earning the fourth-and-final playoff berth while the losers will pack up and go home.