Defending champions the Taipei Fubon Braves on Sunday defeated the Formosa Taishin Dreamers 119-11 in a double-overtime semi-final thriller to punch their ticket to the P.League+ finals for the second consecutive year.
Earlier in the five-game series, the Braves defeated the Taichung-based Dreamers 98-89 on June 4 and 100-94 on Monday last week, but lost 95-80 on Friday.
At Sunday’s post-game news conference at Taipei Heping Basketball Gymnasium, Braves head coach Roger Hsu said he was touched by the effort the players showed in clinching the win and advancing to the finals.
Last season’s finals Most Valuable Player — Braves forward Mike Singletary, who led his team with a double-double of 37 points and 18 rebounds — said he knew he had to be aggressive for the team to win.
“When other guys have it going, my role is to play defense and do everything I can to help the team win. Tonight was a situation where I had to be more aggressive and that’s just what happened,” he said.
Taiwanese star and Braves forward Lin Chi-chieh, who scored 27 points and was just one rebound shy of a double-double, said he wanted to win the game to defend his home court.
Lin, who turned 40 on Saturday, said that although there was a gap in physical fitness as he grew older, he had a better understanding of what he should do on the court.
On Sunday, the score was tied at 105-105 after Braves forward Josh Chou put in a right-handed hook shot with about four minutes left in the second overtime period.
From there, the Braves led a 10-0 run over the Dreamers, before point guard Lin Chun-chi answered with a three-point play to narrow the gap to 115-108 with only 1 minute, 19 seconds left.
However, the Braves held their lead and edged over with a 4-3 point run to advance to the finals.
The Braves, winners of the inaugural P.League+ championship last season, are to face the winner of the best-of-seven final series in the other semi-final matchup between the Hsinchu JKO Lioneers and the New Taipei Kings. They are tied 2-2, and are to play tonight at Hsinchu County Stadium.
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