Nearly squandering a 19-point, third-quarter lead, top-seeded Pure Youth Construction held off a late-game rally by the fifth-seeded Fubon Braves and went on to defeat their foes 86-76 at the Sinjhuang Sports Complex in New Taipei City last night to take Game 5 of their semi-final series.
Doug Creighton played the best game of the post-season thus far by connecting for four three’s on a team-high 22-point night to lead the four-time defending champions to a crucial victory that gave them a 3-2 advantage in the best-of-seven series.
“We kept our composure when we needed to the most,” Creighton said after the game, referring to a six-minute stretch in the fourth in which the Braves outscored the Builders 15-5 to pull within five before a clutch two by Creighton with less than three minutes remaining to make it a three-possession game in favor of the Builders.
Photo: Lin Cheng-kung, Taipei Times
Fresh off a disappointing overtime loss to the Braves on Thursday night in a game they should have won, Pure Youth opened contest with a 7-0 run to set the tone early.
However, the Braves answered with an 8-0 run, courtesy of seven straight from big man Earl Barron to take a 19-18 lead after one quarter of play.
Four three’s by the Builders, coupled with nine costly turnovers on the part of the Braves quickly separated the two clubs in the second quarter to give Pure Youth a 42-33 advantage at the half.
Photo: Lin Cheng-kung, Taipei Times
That set up an even stronger offensive effort by the Builders in the third, when Creighton lit up the scoreboard with 13 points to account for nearly half of his team’s 28 to expand their lead to 17.
Fubon reduced the deficit to less than 10 points with “The Barron” netting nine of his team’s next 11 and eventually came to within five with Joseph Lin and Wu Yung-jen hitting from the perimeter.
However, that was as close as they got as the Builders regained their poise to keep it a seven-point game and made their free-throws down the stretch to secure the win.
TAIWAN BEER 84, TIGERS 63
In the other semi-final series in New Taipei City, second-seeded Taiwan Beer earned their second straight trip to the finals by topping the third-seeded Dacin Tigers in Game 5 to take the best-of-seven set 4-1.
Hired gun Patrick O’Bryant came up big in the series clincher by pouring in a game-high 30 points and claiming 15 rebounds for the men in their familiar green-and-white to send the Cats packing.
Also starring was sophomore point guard Chiang Yu-an, who took the Dacin backcourt to school with several nifty drives to the hoop to get the job done for skipper Yen Chia-hua.
“We cut down on the turnovers and played good defense like the coach had asked of us and that was the difference,” Chiang said.
The Brew Crew await the winners of the other series in the title series, which is to begin on Saturday next week.
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