Top-seeded Pure Youth Construction yesterday forced the championship finals into a sixth game with a 75-61 win over second-seeded Taiwan Beer in Game 5 at the Sinjhuang Sports Complex in New Taipei City, still trailing the Brew Crew by 2-3 in the best-of-seven series.
Close plays dominated the early stages of the match, with both teams trading leads by less than five points in the first 10 minutes of play, with Darian Townes and Patrick O’Bryant leading the way for the Builders and the Brew Crew on offense with four and nine points, respectively.
Despite six turnovers in the first quarter, Taiwan Beer managed to claim a 14-12 lead after 10 minutes of play, with Pure Youth failing to cash in on their extra ball possessions. However, their small lead lasted less than two minutes as the four-time defending champions quickly poured in 23 points in the second quarter, highlighted by eight from Chen Chien-en to close out the first half with a 35-31 cushion.
Photo: Lin Cheng-kung, Taipei Times
That set up an inside attack by Pure Youth with Townes racking up eight points and six rebounds, three off the offensive glass in the third to put the Builders ahead by as many as 10. The hired gun from the US finished with a game-high 18 on a night that was “do-or-die” for his team.
“We knew our backs were against the wall, so we had to come out a little more aggressive,” Townes said after the game.
Trailing by seven through the third quarter, Taiwan Beer managed to pull within four points of the Builders with Liu Cheng hitting a big three-pointer in the opening minute of the fourth. That was as close as they got with Doug Creighton answering with a long three of his own to spark what ended up being an 11-0 run for the Builders who held on strong to seal the victory long before the final buzzer sounded.
Four players scored in double-digits for Pure Youth compared with Taiwan Beer’s three, with Townes’ 18 and Chiang Yu-an’s team-high 17 leading the way for their respective clubs. The 21 turnovers committed by Taiwan Beer proved too much for them to overcome as they failed to clinch the title, giving the Builders another chance at defending their title.
The two teams will suit up again in tonight’s Game 6, with Taiwan Beer looking to clinch the series on their second try. This is an all-too-familiar situation for the Brew Crew, who also led the series 3-1 after four games last year, only to drop three consecutive games to hand the title to Pure Youth.
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