Backed by a near sold out home crowd at the Taipei Heping Gymnasium, the Taipei Fubon Braves snapped a two-game losing skid with a 114-104 win in an exciting contest against the Formosa Taishin Dreamers in their last Saturday.
Stephan Hicks opened the scoring with a putback basket for the Dreamers in the sixth P.League+ encounter between the Chinese Taipei ASEAN Basketball League teams . Jerran Young followed on with two jumpers to give the Dreamers an early 6-2 lead.
With a desire not to take a third straight loss to the Dreamers, Mike Singletary sparked a 10-0 to put the Braves up by six halfway through the first quarter.
Equally eager to get the W, former Singapore Slinger Jerran Young kept the game close with 11 first quarter points to cut the lead to only one with four minutes remaining.
After Young’s jumper, right on cue again, it was Mike Singletary who rallied the Braves to ignite a blistering 14-2 run to end the first quarter with a commanding 28-15 lead.
A Jerran Young three kickstarted a hot three-point shooting second quarter for the visitors. Three pointers from their young backcourt duo of Lin Chun-Chi and former Grand View Viking, ‘Jay’ Chen Jen-Jei quickly cut the lead to only seven at the 8:11 mark.
Not to be outdone by his teammates, Kenny Chien went on his own personal tear, scoring seven to make it a one basket game.
Despite the Braves best efforts to maintain the lead before half time, the Dreamers consistent accuracy from beyond the arc saw them finally regaining the lead with two minutes remaining through another three from Chen Jen-Jei.
The second quarter was a breakout performance from the American trained Chen Jen-Jei. Chen’s 11 second quarter points ensured the Dreamers took a 55-54 lead at the break.
The Dreamers scorched hot from downtown in the second quarter, making nine three pointers.
Jerran Young started the third quarter with another pair of three pointers as the Dreamers to keep up their hot three-point shooting.
The Braves would get some much need boost from Taiwanese basketball legend, ‘Beast’ Lin Chih-Chieh who went on to score five straight points to spark the home team’s fightback.
‘Beast’ Lin Chih-Chieh eventually tied the game with seven minutes remaining, drawing oohs and aahs from the home crowd as he broke free by tricking two defenders before sinking a side step three pointer.
Things would get heated during the third quarter with Dreamers Head Coach, Kyle Julius getting hit with a technical foul for disputing a referee’s decision that went the home team’s way.
It was none other than ‘The Beast’ who restored the Braves lead, once again bringing their home crowd to their feet with a three pointer over the 200 cm Lee Te-Wei at the 4:30 mark.
The Braves kept up the momentum and was able to increase the lead to seven through a Mike Singletary three with a minute remaining. Jerran Young’s sixth three pointer of the game made sure it was only a four-point lead at the end of the third.
Utilising his size advantage, the 211 cm Ukrainian, Ihor Zaytsev powered through the paint with six points to keep the Dreamers at bay early in the final quarter.
However, Zaytsev’s effort wasn’t enough to stop the surge of the Dreamer’s returning veteran, ‘Amigo’ Yang Chin-Min. Amigo led the visitors, scoring six in an 8-0 run that gave them a three-point lead with seven minutes to go, forcing a home timeout.
Off the timeout, Zaytsev once again had his way in the paint with two easy points.
What initially looked like a strange decision by Coach Hsu Chin-Che to deploy young forward, Chou Kuei-Yu into the game at a crucial stretch paid off as the 22-year-old Chou made a long jumper at the 5:48 mark to restore the Brave’s lead.
Chou’s basket lit fire on his team both on ends of the floor, inspiring the Braves to a 10-0 run, increasing their lead to nine with three minutes remaining.
The 10-0 run was culminated by a highlight reel no look pass by ‘Beast’ Lin Chih-Chieh to Tseng Hsiang-Chun who finished with an emphatic dunk.
Tseng’s dunk proved enough to quell the Dreamers momentum, as the visitors weren’t successful in making it an uncomfortable end to the game for the Braves.
The Braves held firm to finish the game with the 114-104 score line to secure their twelfth win of the season.
After a below par performance in a loss to the Dreamers last month, Ihor Zaytsev bounced back in style as the Brave’s best player of the game. Zaytsev finished with 26 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals.
Mike Singletary had a season high 30 points with 10 rebounds while ‘The Beast’ Lin Chih-Chieh also had an impressive game with 21 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Chien Wei-Ju made his presence felt with 14 points.
Despite their fine from beyond the arc early in the game, the Dreamers were not able to rediscover that form in the second half, eventually finishing with a 17/51 record from three.
The Dreamer’s best player was Jerran Young with a season high 38 points, including seven three pointers. Chen Jen-Jei’s breakout performance game saw him finish with 18 points. Despite scoring 11 points and grabbing 16 rebounds, Stephan Hicks will want to put this game behind him as he was only able to make 1 out of his 8 three-point attempts.
The loss brought an end to the Dreamer’s five game winning streak, keeping them at third place with an 8-8 record.
On Sunday, the Braves wrapped up their weekend with another win, coming from behind to defeat the bottom ranked Hsinchu JKO Lioneers 109-105. Mike Singletary led the team with 34 points and 14 rebounds.
The Braves remain firmly at the top of the standings with a 13-5 record.
The ‘Taiwan Tussle’ ABL teams will face off again in their seventh P.League+ encounter this coming Saturday (13th March 2021) at the Taipei Heping Gymnasium.