Thursday, May 17, 2007

TB eliminated VL 3-1, advanced to finals

(Hsu Hao-cheng, left, made a three to send TB to the SBL finals, photo courtesy of ESPN Taiwan)

Hsu Hao-cheng made a game-winning three-pointer with 4.1 seconds left as Taiwan Beer edged Videoland 86-84 in Game 4 of the first round series to close out the series 3-1 and advanced to the SBL finals for the second straight year.

Taiwan Beer, which will wait for the winner of the Yulon-Dacin series, lost to Yulon 4-1 in the 2006 SBL finals.

For TB and VL, the game was a must-win. The score was tied at 63 all in the end of the third quarter as VL led by four with four minutes left. TB missed four straight free-throws in the last 2:30 and gave VL another chance.

After a Yang Che-yi three, VL led by one, 84-83, as TB had one last possession to win the game. Shan Wei-fan received the ball at the top of the key and found Hsu Hao-cheng at the left baseline. Hsu, who scored a playoff career-high 19 points, let it fly as soon as he caught the pass.

"I kept telling my teammates I'm ready [for the playoffs]. And I appreciate their confidence in me, " Hsu said after the game.

VL still had time to tie or win the game, but Jonathan Sanders missed a layup as the final buzzer sounded. Sanders has not been able to dominate the game in the series like he did during the regular season because TB's defense was primarily focused on him.

VL enjoyed a 4-1 advantage over TB in the regular season, but obviously the playoffs was another story. For the Hunters, being knocked out of the postseason in the first round as a No. 2 seed will be something they want to forget.

TB: Lin Chih-jay 34p+10rb+4s, Hsu Hao-cheng 19p
VL: Yang Che-yi 33p+6rb, Deng An-cheng 12p, J. Sanders 12p

(Tien Lei, left, and Yulon's Tsun Wen-din fought for a rebound, photo courtesy of ESPN Taiwan)

Yulon made seven threes in a 38-point third quarter explosion and Lee Hsueh-lin made two free-throws with 8.1 seconds to clinch a 77-74 victory over Dacin and tied the series at 2-2. Three-time defending champ Yulon had won two in a row after dropping the first two games.

Led by Chen Tse-wei, who has been playing surprisingly well in the series, Dacin cut the 12-point deficit down to one late in the fourth quarter. Chen scored 10 of his 15 points in the fourth before missing a game-tying three in the end.

Yulon: Tsun Wen-din 25p+8rb, Chen Hsin-an 19p+5TO, Chen Chih-chun 22p
Dacin: Tien Lei 14p+14rb, Chang Chi-feng 18p, Chen Tse-wei 15p, Lee Fong-yong 10p