P. LEAGUE+ & T1 LEAGUE/Kaohsiung Aquas make history as first team to advance into T1 LEAGUE finals

05/28/2022 12:25 PM
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The Kaohsiung Aquas. CNA photo May 27, 2022
The Kaohsiung Aquas. CNA photo May 27, 2022

Taipei, May 28 (CNA) The Kaohsiung Aquas made history as the first team to advance into the finals of the inaugural season of Taiwan's pro basketball T1 LEAGUE after overcoming a third quarter scare and defeating the Taipei-based TaiwanBeer HeroBears 99-93 in the semifinals on Friday.

The best-of-three semifinals also saw the Aquas sweep the HeroBears 114-91 at Kaohsiung Fengshan Stadium earlier this week on Wednesday, which means the Kaohsiung team moves into the best-of-five finals series, which starts May 31.

The Aquas will showdown in the finals against the winner between the Taichung Wagor Suns and the New Taipei CTBC DEA, which both currently are 1-1 in the semifinals.

The Kaohsiung Aquas. CNA photo May 27, 2022
The Kaohsiung Aquas. CNA photo May 27, 2022

Aquas head coach Brendan Joyce said at the post-game press conference after the latest win that the HeroBears were one of the best teams his team has played against.

"We played one of the toughest teams, they really prepared us. I think the HeroBears really prepared us big time for the playoffs, so I take my hat off to the HeroBears and the organization," Joyce said.

During the game, which was played at University of Taipei's Tianmu campus gym, the Aquas were in front with a cushion of 48-36 by half time.

However, the HeroBears rallied to briefly take a one-point lead 69-68 with just under two minutes left in the third quarter after point guard Chiang Yu-an (蔣淯安) dished a dime to center Ronald Delph in the paint for a two-handed dunk.

Aquas center Mindaugas Kupsas (center). CNA photo May 27, 2022
Aquas center Mindaugas Kupsas (center). CNA photo May 27, 2022

With pressure building, the Aquas fought back, taking control of the fourth quarter and widening the score to 95-87, with only two minutes and 10 seconds left in the game after center Mindaugas Kupsas pocketed a three-point play following an and-one in the paint.

The HeroBears, however, did not give up and were able to bring the game back to within one basket 96-93 with 28 seconds left until the final buzzer.

From there, a foul sent Aquas point guard Jason Brickman to the free-throw line to sink one from two, forcing the HeroBears to call a time out.

After the break, HeroBears Diamond Louis Stone missed a turnaround baseline three-point jumper and gave the Aquas possession, later conceding the game to the Aquas 99-93.

Stone led all scorers with a double-double of 31 points and 18 rebounds, while Kupsas answered back with 27 points.

Aquas point guard Jason Brickman (center). CNA photo May 27, 2022
Aquas point guard Jason Brickman (center). CNA photo May 27, 2022


Dreamers top Taoyuan Pilots

Dreamers forward Julian Boyd. Photo courtesy of the Formosa Taishin Dreamers.
Dreamers forward Julian Boyd. Photo courtesy of the Formosa Taishin Dreamers.

Meanwhile, in Taiwan's other professional basketball league P. LEAGUE+ Friday, the Formosa Taishin Dreamers topped the Taoyuan Pilots 110-76 at Nanshan High School in New Taipei City to lock in as the second seeds, advancing to the playoffs.

The Dreamers now carry a card of 18-11 and are only 1 ½ games back of the league leaders, the Hsinchu Jko Lioneers.

Dreamers forward Julian Boyd led all scorers with a double-double of 31 points and 13 rebounds, while teammate Stefan Jankovic trailed with 30 points and 11 rebounds.

(By William Yen)

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