Reggie Okosa scored a game-high 28, Lin Guan-luen followed with 25 more, and the Dacin Tigers overcame a sluggish start to upend the Yulon Luxgens 83-73 at the National Taiwan University of Physical Education and Sport Gymnasium in Taichung last night to secure the fourth and final playoff berth.
With their post-season fate on the line, the Cats rode the coattails of their top two offensive weapons — Okosa’s solid inside play and Lin’s deadly perimeter game — to fend off a tough Yulon squad in a valiant outing.
Yulon came out firing with a 10-2 run in the first 2.5 minutes of the game to force the Tigers to call a timeout.
The stoppage of play proved to be critical, as the Tigers came out of the timeout like a different team by going on a 17-11 run of their own to keep it a two-point game after one quarter of play.
That was the beginning of a long night for the Luxgens, as the Tigers found a way to contain Lu Cheng-rue and hold the sharpshooter scoreless in the second quarter after a 10-point first to enjoy a 39-33 advantage at the half.
Nine points by Yulon’s Chou Shih-yuan kept the Dacin lead under 10 as they rallied to within three of the Tigers with less than a minute to play in the third.
That was as close as they got, as Lin nailed a clutch three from downtown before Tien Lei followed with a pair of free-throws in a 8-0 run to dampen the Yulon rally en route to a comfortable 10-point victory.
BANK OF TAIWAN 75, TAIWAN BEER 69
Bank of Taiwan closed out their season on a high note with a 75-69 upset win over playoff-bound Taiwan Beer in Taichung yesterday afternoon.
Chen Guo-wei was the man of the hour for the Financial Wizards, who settled with the last-place finish for the second time in the past three seasons with a disappointing 6-24 record, by netting 15 points and eight rebounds for his team.
His pair of clutch rebounds off the offensive glass in the closing seconds of the game kept the Brew Crew from gaining possession of the ball in a late-game comeback attempt.
Also starring for the Bankers was big man Liam McMorrow, whose first season in Taiwan came to a crashing end with a game-high 22 points and 13 boards. The American center’s future with the Bankers remains uncertain, even though he has shown steady progress to make a case to extend his tenure with the team.
Resting their star center and top offensive threat Patrick O’Bryant in the interest of protecting their most valuable team asset was Taiwan Beer, who dropped their first regular-season game against the Bankers in five meetings as the outcome of the contest carried no bearings on their post-season stance.