The Taipei Fubon Braves were the victors of Game 3 of the inaugural P.League + Championship Playoffs in a thrilling 114-110 overtime victory over the Formosa Taishin Dreamers on their home court, the Changhua County Gymnasium.
You can catch the full game here.
Game 3 was played behind closed doors due to an increase of Covid 19 cases in Chinese Taipei over the past week.
The Dreamers will play the rest of the series without the 2017/2018 ASEAN Basketball League World Import MVP, Anthony Tucker, who before the game, announced he was returning to the United States in anticipation of the birth of his son.
The first quarter started slow with only three baskets made in the first four minutes. There was little to separate the ASEAN Basketball League rivals till four straight points by Mike Singletary made it a six-point lead for the Braves with less than four minutes remaining.
Despite the Dreamers hitting back with five points through Lin Chun-Chi and Jay Chen Jen-Jie, it was the Braves who finished the quarter strong with an 8-0 run capped off with a three pointer from the veteran, ‘Winston’ Tsai Wen-Cheng, ending the quarter with a 24-15 lead for the Braves.
An inside basket by Ihor Zaytsev and a three pointer from ‘Beast’ Lin Chih-Chieh to start the second quarter quickly gave the Braves their largest lead of the game at 14.
The Dreamers immediately replied Lin’s three through a corner jumper from former Singapore Slinger, Jerran Young, to spark a 12-0 run, holding the Braves scoreless for three minutes.
Both teams traded leads for the rest of the quarter with the deficits never going beyond one possession until Mike Singletary calmly scored an uncontested three pointer to give the visitors a five-point lead going into the break.
Just like the second quarter, the Braves started the third on fine form with a 9-0 run to quickly restore their double-digit lead.
Stephan Hicks’s three pointer at the 7:06 mark ignited the Dreamers comeback, eventually cutting the lead to two with three minutes to go through a Randall Walko three pointer.
The Braves efforts at holding back the Dreamers suffered a blow as talented young big, Tseng Hsiang-Chun suffered a game ending injury after a collision with Stephan Hicks.
Despite losing Tseng Hsiang-Chun’s, the Braves stepped up their game, closing the third quarter with an 8-2 run to end the quarter with an 87-78 lead.
The Braves were able to maintain a comfortable lead for most of the final quarter before a Stephan Hicks second chance basket with four minutes remaining started the home team’s late comeback.
Eventually, a pair of free throws from Hicks brought down the deficit to only three with 90 seconds remaining.
In a frantic finale to the game, ‘Jet’ Chang thought he had delivered the dagger with a three pointer with 28 seconds remaining.
Unfortunately, much to the Brave’s dismay, they once again faced shot clock woes similar to Game 1 with the referees ruling out Jet’s three as the ball had not left his hand when the shot clock expired.
At the next play, Amigo Yang Chin-Min was able to beat the defence of Winston Tsai-Wen Cheng to score the game tying three pointer with 5.88 seconds remaining.
Off the Braves final time out, the visitors thought they had the game won as Jet Chang escaped Kenny Chien’s to score a tough jumper with 3.6 seconds remaining.
In dramatic fashion, the Dreamers successfully forced the game into overtime as Stephan Hicks took advantage of the Brave’s defensive lapse to score an open layup.
Sitting out for more than half of the fourth quarter, Mike Singletary came into overtime fresh and with fire in his belly. The former Mono Vampire quickly scored five points to put the Braves in control early in overtime.
Kenny Chien’s three kept the Dreamers in the game but they were once again powerless in stopping Singletary as he finished a three-point play and threw a precise assist for ‘The Landlord’ Tseng Wen-Ting to make it a six-point lead with a minute remaining.
In spite of Stephan Hick’s floater cutting the lead to four with 11 seconds remaining, the Braves took advantage of the Dreamer’s tired legs, expertly moving the ball around to prevent the intentional foul and securing their second win of the best of seven series.
The undisputed best player of the game for the Braves was none other than Mike Singletary who achieved a triple double stat line by the third quarter. Singletary finished the game with 22 points, 16 rebounds and 12 assists.
Ihor Zaytsev had 23 points and 14 rebounds while Jet Chang and ‘Beast’ Lin Chih-Chieh notched 25 and 15 points respectively.
The Dreamers best player was Stephan Hicks who logged in 31 points and 18 rebounds. Hicks was one of six Dreamers who finished in double digits scoring.
The series continues with Game 4 taking place on Saturday, 15th May at the Changhua County Gymnasium.