The Taipei Fubon Braves are now one win away from clinching the inaugural P.League Championship with a resounding 115-90 win on Saturday over their ASEAN Basketball League rivals, the Formosa Taishin Dreamers.
You can catch the full game here.
The game at the Changhua County Gymnasium was once again played behind closed doors due to a recent increase of Covid 19 cases in Chinese Taipei.
Before the game, the Dreamers suffered an additional blow with Jerran Young granted a mutual release from the team due to personal health reasons, leaving them with only one import player in Stephan Hicks after Anthony Tucker also withdrew from the team for paternity leave earlier this week.
Kenny Chien opened the scoring for the Dreamers with two quick baskets, before Mike Singletary replied with two three pointers, continuing his fine form from Game 3.
Using their height advantage and deeper depth across the roster, the Braves managed to make it a 10-point lead at the 2:23 mark of the first quarter through a floater from Ihor Zaytsev.
The Dreamers young backcourt duo of Jay Chen Jen-Jie and Lin Chun-Chi struck with a pair of threes to cut the lead to single digits; only for the Braves to hit back through a pair of baskets from Joseph Lin and Winston Tsai Wen Cheng, who also assisted one another for the points.
The first quarter ended 33-23 in favour of the visitors.
Stepping in for the injured Tseng Hsiang-Chun, Lin Meng-Hsueh started the second quarter with an inside basket off a nice pass from veteran big, Tseng Wen-Ting.
The Braves used their entire rotation to full effect against the Dreamers, as Lai Ting-En and Brendon Smart made the most of their minutes with key baskets to increase the lead.
As the Dreamers struggled to find any offensive rhythm, the lead crossed the 20-point line through a pair of free throws by regular season MVP, ‘Jet’ Chang Tsung-Hsien with two minutes remaining.
Despite Stephan Hicks finishing a tough shot to momentarily bring the lead to below 20, three pointers from Ihor Zaytsev and Chien Wei-Ju cemented the Brave’s firm hold on the game; going into the half time break with a 60-38 lead.
After two quarters, the Dreamers were only able to make 29% of their field goal attempts.
The Dreamers came out the break determined to stay in the game, reducing lead to 17 with seven minutes remaining.
Sensing a possible slippery situation, the Braves turned to Mike Singletary, who came up clutch once again, scoring five points on his own, sparking a 13-0 run, pushing the lead to 30 with five minutes remaining in the quarter, effectively sealing the outcome of the game.
The Braves were able to build the lead to as high as 35 early in the fourth quarter before Stephan Hicks led the Dreamers on a rally with 11 points, cutting the lead to 21 at 5:07 mark.
It was however too a too big a dream for the home team to achieve, and the Braves held firm to close out the game with the 110-95 win, pushing the best of seven series to 3-1 in advantage of the No.1 seeds.
Ihor Zaytsev was the best performer for the Braves with 25 points and 17 rebounds. Mike Singletary came close to his second straight triple double, finishing the game with 19 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists. Jet Chang notched 13 points while back up players Brendon Smart and Lin Meng-Hsueh also had impressive performances, with 12 and 11 points respectively.
The lone bright spark for the Dreamers was Stephan Hicks, whose stellar performance of 33 points and 17 rebounds was not enough to prevent the blowout loss.
The Dreamers once again struggled from the field, only making 39% of their shots and badly struggled on the boards, losing out 43-55 on rebounds, allowing the Braves to grab 17 offensive rebounds.
There will be little rest for both teams as Game 5 takes place the next day at the Taipei Heping Gymnasium with the Taipei Fubon Braves looking to make history, crowning themselves the first ever P.League + champions.