Taipei falls to Philippines in clutch time in ASEAN Basketball League
Taipei, Jan. 7 (CNA) The winning streak of the Taipei Fubon Braves ended Tuesday when they went down in the last few minutes of a game against San Miguel Alab Pilipinas in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) in Manila.
At the final whistle, the Braves were 96-101, after Pilipinas forward Jeremiah Gray scored 17 points with a series of clutch shots in and out of the key at Filoil Flying V Centre.
The Braves, which were on the hunt for their third consecutive win, took a slim lead soon after the tip-off, with quick coast-to-coast plays led by guard Joseph Lin (林書緯), the younger brother of Taiwanese-American professional basketballer Jeremy Lin.
The tables started to turn, however, when Pilipinas American import center Nicholas King made a step-back three-pointer that put his team ahead 36-34, six minutes into the second quarter.
A series of tussles emerged in the second half, as the players on each team relentlessly boxed out and crashed the boards.
Pilipinas Maltese import center Samuel Maltese Deguara, who stands at seven feet, five inches, recorded a double-double of 26 points and 14 rebounds as he dominated the boards for the game.
In an effort to keep up with the Pilipinas' stellar performance, Taipei leaned on its shot-maker, former NBA guard O.J. Mayo, who led the scoreboard with 35 points in the game.
The pressure was building in the fourth quarter when King sank a key layup to give his team a two-point lead, and Gray's crucial shots from downtown helped stretch the lead to 99-94, with less than one minute left in the game.
As the Braves tried to play lockdown defense, a personal foul was called on guard Lin Kuan-chun (林冠均) against Pilipinas American import forward Khalif Wyatt, who sank both free throws to seal the deal for his team 101-96.
Prior to Tuesday's game, the Braves had snagged two consecutive wins, defeating the Formosa Dreamers 83-79 Friday and the Singapore Slingers 83-77 Saturday.
After Tuesday's game, Taipei remained fourth in the league standings, while the Pilipinas advanced to third place.
It was the first time that the Braves, which joined the league this season, was coming up against the Pilipinas, the league winners in the 2017-2018 season. The Braves will next face the Macau Black Bears in an away game Friday.
The ABL 2019-2020 season began Nov. 16, 2019, with 10 teams from East Asia and Southeast Asia competing for the title. The regular season runs until March 29, 2020.
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