Bank of Taiwan’s bid to reach the title game hit a brick wall against Japan’s Chiba Jets as the financial wizards dropped an 81-68 decision in the semi-finals of the Probation Cup at the Hualien County Sports Complex yesterday afternoon.
Slowed down by a sub-par first quarter in which the visitors held the Bankers to just 14 points, the hosts found themselves playing catch-up sooner than they had expected. The Jets maintained their lead despite an all-out rally attempt by the Bankers in the second quarter as the visitors dominated from the third quarter on to run away with the double-digit victory margin.
Brex 102, Tigers 78
In the other semi-final, Japan’s Link Tochigi Brex capitalized on a dismal second half by the Dacin Tigers to blow a 50-42 lead wide open en route to a big win.
What should have been an even match turned into an all-Japan affair midway through the second quarter as the Tigers squandered a magnificent start that saw them lead 29-27 after one quarter by self-destructing in the final four minutes of the second quarter to trail the Brex 50-42 at the half.
The Tigers had their handling exposed as they made several costly turnovers against the Brex in the second quarter that led to easy transition baskets for the Japan-based team.
Trouble continued for the Cats in the third quarter as the Brex pulled away with a steady flow of ball movement that set up several wide-open jumpers from the perimeter against the Dacin defense to up the margin to 16, leaving the final quarter of play a foregone conclusion.
“We are still trying to adjust to life without Tien Lei in our lineup. It’s been a tough change for us,” Dacin head coach Hsu Chih-chao said after the game.
Tien Lei, the team’s top scorer and icon for the past 11 seasons, announced his departure to join the Chinese Basketball Association earlier last week.
The semi-final wins made it an all-Japan matchup in the title game, which is to be played tonight.
Taiwan Beer 77, Pure Youth 81
Pure Youth Constructions downed Taiwan Beer yesterday afternoon to show the Brew Crew why Pure Youth are the top team in the nation despite the absence of three regular starters.
The Builders were playing without Quincy Davis, Chen Chih-chieh and Hung Chih-shan, who were left off the roster ahead of the Asian Games tournament.
Luxgens 97, SMAA 57
In yesterday’s other game, SMAA of the US lost to the Luxgens.
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