Last Saturday, the Formosa Taishin Dreamers lodged their second straight P.League+ victory against their ASEAN Basketball League rivals, the Taipei Fubon Braves in front of a boisterous home crowd at the Changhua County Stadium.
The season series record now stands at 3-2 with the Braves having the slim advantage.
Stephan Hicks opened the scoring for the hosts with a midrange jumper, setting the tone for an excellent quarter for the former Fort Wayne Mad Ant.
‘The Beast’ Lin Chih-Chieh immediately replied Hicks with a three pointer to kickstart a closely contested first quarter with nine lead changes.
The first quarter advantage was in the favour of the Dreamers who took the slim 29-26 lead. Hicks finished the quarter with 16 points.
Lai Ting-En ignited a 7-2 run for the Braves to start the second quarter, quickly regaining their lead. The second quarter proved similar to the first as neither team gave each other an inch, trading baskets with the deficit between the teams never going beyond four points.
Despite his hot start to the game, Stephan Hicks was kept scoreless for the first ten minutes of the quarter and finally broke his barren run with a three pointer to make it a four-point lead for the Dreamers with two minutes remaining.
Determined not to be on the losing end again against their ‘Taiwan Tussle’ rivals, the Braves closed the quarter with an 8-0 run sparked by a three pointer from Mike Singletary. The half time score was 51-47 in favour of the Braves.
A pair of Jerran Young three pointers quickly restored the Dreamer’s lead within the first two minutes of the third quarter.
With the Braves struggling with their outside shooting, their efforts at shifting their offense to the paint didn’t pay dividends as Charles Garcia struggled to find his momentum on offense. Despite several opportunities at collecting points at the free throw line, Garcia only made 3 of his 8 attempts in the quarter.
Smelling blood, the Dreamers punished the Braves with some excellent transition offense, pushing the lead to as high as 12 off a Jerran Young steal that led to a Stephan Hicks dunk with two minutes remaining.
Shaking off his earlier quarter woes, Garcia sparked a good spell of offense for the Braves to end the quarter with a 5-0 run for his team. Garcia was able to sink a buzzer beating layup with 0.11 seconds remaining to cut the lead to only seven going into the final quarter.
The start of the fourth quarter was all ‘Beast’ Lin Chih-Chieh as the six-time CBA All Star took control of the game, scoring nine points to tie the game at 80 apiece with eight minutes remaining.
With the legend threatening to snatch the game, the Dreamers received a much-needed boost from their youth as the 2020 UBA MVP, Lin Chun-Chi responded with a corner three to restore the home team’s lead.
What followed was a series of careless turnovers by the Braves, starting with a stray pass stolen by Jerran Young who finished off with a roof raising fast break dunk.
Struggling with turnovers, the Braves’ woes were compounded with Charles Garcia fouling out of the game with six minutes remaining after an offensive foul on Kenny Chien.
The three pointer from Lin Chun-Chi sparked a 10-0 run that put the game firmly in the Dreamers’ control with five minutes remaining.
The Braves weren’t able to muster any further scares for the home team as the Dreamers picked up their fourth straight P.League+ victory with the final 101-89 score.
The Dreamer’s best player was Stephan Hicks with 27 points and 12 rebounds. Jerran Young contributed 25 points, 5 assists and 4 steals while Taiwanese American Kenny Chien had his best game of the season scoring 21 points. Lin Chun-Chi contributed 11 points and 4 assists while big man Lee-Te Wei marked 8 points and 15 rebounds.
The Brave’s efforts were led by ‘The Beast’ Lin Chih-Chieh who scored a season high 27 points. Charles Garcia and Mike Singletary both logged 14 points.
It was a game that the Braves will quickly want to shake off as they committed 23 turnovers and only made 18/31 of their free throw attempts.
On Sunday, the Dreamers kept up their fine form, defeating the Taoyuan Pilots 98-90 at home to extend their win streak to five. The highlight of the game was a phenomenal 39 points performance by Lin Chun-Chi. The win improved the Dreamer’s record to 8-7, placing them just one win away from second position.
The Braves took another blow on Monday, falling 76-83 on the road against the bottom ranked Hsinchu JKO Lioneers. ‘Jet’ Chang Tsung-Hsien’s 16 points were not enough to prevent the Braves from falling to their fourth defeat in their past five games. Despite the loss, the Braves remained top of the standings with a 11-5 record.
The Chinese Taipei ASEAN Basketball League teams will face off again this weekend on Saturday, 6th of March at the Taipei Heping Gymnasium.