Last Saturday, the Taipei Fubon Braves once again came out tops against the Formosa Taishin Dreamers, securing the home win against their ASEAN Basketball League rivals 99-94 in a thrilling P.League + encounter at the Taipei Heping Gymnasium.
Lee Te-Wei’s three pointer opened the game with a quick 8-0 run for the Dreamers before Mike Singletary came up with his own furious retaliation, scoring 10 points tie up the game at the midway mark of the first quarter.
After sitting out the three previous encounters against the Braves, Anthony Tucker stamped his mark on the game early on, scoring 9 first quarter points, increasing the lead back to eight at the 2:39 mark to force an early timeout for the home team.
Off the timeout, Ihor Zaytsev’s five points reduced the lead to three before the former TCNJ Lion, Randall Walko sank his second three pointer to end the quarter with a 23-17 lead for the visitors.
Randall Walko continued his fine form early in second quarter, scoring five points as the Dreamers pushed the lead to double digits with the Braves going through a rocky start to the quarter, failing to score a single field goal in the first four minutes.
With the Dreamers threatening to pull away with the game, it was ‘Jet’ Chang Tsung-Hsien rising to the occasion for the Braves.
Starting with a fancy no look assist for a Tseng Hsiang-Chun dunk, ‘Jet’ Chang Tsung-Hsien went on a tear scoring eight straight points to cut the deficit to only two at the 4:17 mark.
At the following play, Anthony Tucker put the brakes on the Braves’s charge, completing an alley oop basket off an assist from Jerran Young.
Not to be outdone, Randall Walko continued his impressive form with a blowby drive past Tseng Hsiang-Chun leading to a dunk at the 2:06 mark to make it a two basket lead again.
Still continuing with his relentless offense, ‘Jet’ Chang led the charge again with another five points, eventually leading to the Braves tying the game through a three corner three pointer by Ihor Zaytsev with 36 seconds remaining.
It was ‘Laoshi’ Anthony Tucker, however with the final say for the first half, sinking a pull up jumper to grab the visitors a narrow 46-44 lead at the half time break.
The Braves once again started the quarter cold, going scoreless in the first three minutes, allowing the Dreamers to increase the lead to seven.
Chien Wei-Ju and Mike Singletary were finally able to break the deadlock for the hosts from the 8:37 mark, making it a one basket game.
The Dreamers kept Braves at bay for most of the quarter until Chien Wei-Ju turned the game into the Chien Wei-Ju show starting corner three pointer to tie the game at 60 apiece with 4:37 remaining.
After Mike Singletary blocked Anthony Tucker’s three-point attempt from behind, Chien Wei-Ju once again struck gold with a pull up three pointer, giving the Braves their first lead of the game.
Chien-Wei Ju was not done though, making his fourth three-point bomb with three minutes remaining to cap off a 11-1 run for the home team.
The Braves rode on the momentum started by Chien Wei-Ju to end the quarter with a 75-66 lead after ‘Winston’ Tsai Wen-Cheng’s buzzer beating circus shot.
After going scoreless in the third quarter, Randall Walko quickly scored back-to-back three pointers to reduce the deficit to only three early in the final quarter.
The Braves struggled to pull away and Walko did not let up, scoring his seventh three pointer of the game at the 7:49 mark to keep it a one basket game.
As the Dreamers came close to tying the game, the Braves received a much-needed boost through the inspired play of veteran, ‘Winston’ Tsai Wen-Cheng who scored eight points to give the Brave’s their biggest lead of the game at nine with five minutes remaining.
An Amigo Yang-Chin Min euro step basket kickstarted the Dreamer’s late game push. With the Braves struggling to make their shots down the stretch, Anthony Tucker led the charge with a pair of tough drives to the basket.
An And1 play by the 2017/2018 ASEAN Basketball League World Import MVP reduced the lead to only three with a minute remaining.
With the game on the line, former Dreamer, ‘Jet’ Chang Tsung-Hsien effectively ended the game for his former team at the ensuing play.
The Most Outstanding Player of the 2011 NCAA DII Season overcame the tough defence of Kenny Chien to score a bank shot to make it a five-point lead with 36 seconds remaining.
Kenny Chien and Anthony Tucker were unable to convert their shots to save the game as the Braves hung on for their 14th win of the season.
Mike Singletary led five Braves in double digits scoring with 27 points, 16 rebounds and 4 assists. Ihor Zaystev also had a double double with 20 points and 12 rebounds. ‘Jet’ Chang Tsung-Hsien finished with 22 points. The veteran Tsai Wen-Cheng had 13 points and 7 rebounds while Chien Wei-Ju also had an impressive game with 12 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists.
On the Dreamers end, Randall Walko logged in in his best performance of the season, finishing with a season high 33 points. Anthony Tucker clocked in 25 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists while Jerran Young contributed 23 points.
On Sunday, the Braves capped off another impressive weekend with a resounding 124-94 win over the second ranked Taoyuan Pilots. Ihor Zaystev led the Braves with 25 points and 9 rebounds. The Braves stand firmly at the top of the standings with a 15-5 record, leaving them only one win away from securing the top seed spot.
The Dreamers suffered further heartbreak on Sunday, dropping yet another close encounter to the bottom ranked Hsinchu JKO Lioneers. Anthony Tucker’s near triple double of 41 points, 9 rebounds and 10 assists weren’t enough to prevent the 105-112 loss. The Dreamers remain in third with an 8-10 record.
The Braves will next see action on the 27th of March at home against the Taoyuan Pilots while the Dreamers face the Hsinchu JKO Lioneers again on the 20th of March at the National Taiwan University of Sport.