Quincy Davis scored a game-high 24, Tsai Wen-cheng followed with 18 more, and top-seeded Pure Youth Construction roughed up the Dacin Tigers 94-84 at the University of Taipei Gymnasium in Tianmu last night to take the all-important Game 1 of the semi-final series.
Chien Chia-hung also poured in 19, seven of which came at the free throw line in the fourth with the Tigers opting to foul the Builders in the interest of freezing the clock, to deny the Tigers any chance of a late-game comeback.
The two-time defending champs silenced their critics, who had favored Dacin on the basis of the Tigers’ 3-2 mark during the regular season, by holding Dacin to 0-for-5 from behind the three-point arc in the second quarter to take a 43-35 lead at the half after the two teams played to a 24-all tie in the first quarter.
A three-pointer Luo Yu-chun and back-to-back baskets by Reggie Okosa brought the Tigers to within four in the first three minutes of the second half. However, Davis and Tsai made sure their team’s lead would not dwindle further as they teamed up to score the next six points to up the Builders’ lead to ten midway through the third.
The Tigers mustered one final attempt to reduce the deficit over the next three minutes with a 9-0 that made it 54-52 with under three minutes to force the Builders to call a timeout.
That was the extent that Dacin was in the game as Davis promptly slammed home a pair of a baskets in the closing minute of the third to keep it a seven-point margin before the Builders erupted for 30 in the fourth to clinch the game long before the final buzzer.
Four different players scored in double digits for the Builders, led by Davis’ 24, while the Tigers placed five over the ten-point mark. However, that did not keep skipper Hsu Chin-che from pocketing the big win that gave his team another auspicious start for the third straight post-season.
TAIWAN BEER 73, LEOPARDS 69
Taiwan Beer pulled off a minor upset against the second-seeded Taiwan Mobile Cloud Leopards in the opener of the other semi-final series by downing the Leopards 73-69 in Tianmu last night.
The Brew Crew took an 18-13 lead after one quarter of play and added to their cushion by seven in the second quarter to go up by a dozen at the half.
However, the Leopards did not go away quietly in the second half as they steadily chipped away at the deficit to fall within one point of Taiwan Beer with 15 seconds remaining in the game before Patrick O’Bryant nailed a pair of free throws in the closing seconds to put them ahead for good.