P. LEAGUE+ & T1 LEAGUE/Taichung Suns beat New Taipei DEA to reach T1 LEAGUE finals

05/28/2022 09:35 PM
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The Taichung Wagor Suns. Photo courtesy of the T1 LEAGUE
The Taichung Wagor Suns. Photo courtesy of the T1 LEAGUE

Taipei, May 28 (CNA) The Taichung Wagor Suns punched its ticket to the inaugural pro basketball T1 LEAGUE finals after outlasting the New Taipei CTBC DEA 80-75 in the final game of their best-of-three semifinal series Saturday.

The Suns defeated the DEA 102-96 on May 24 at National Taiwan University of Sport gymnasium, but lost 118-96 at Xinzhuang Gymnasium in New Taipei on Thursday, before beating the DEA again on Saturday at National Taiwan University of Sport gymnasium in the final game of their series.

The Suns led for most of a tightly contested game until DEA center Kevin Allen tied the game 65-65 with a bucket in the paint with around seven and a half minutes left in the fourth quarter.

The Suns rallied and answered back with a 13-4 run to widen the deficit to 78-69 with only two minutes and 17 seconds left in the game, forcing the New Taipei side to call a timeout.

Suns Guard Jordan Heading. Photo courtesy of the T1 LEAGUE
Suns Guard Jordan Heading. Photo courtesy of the T1 LEAGUE

After the break, the Suns held onto their lead as the DEA tried to cut it down after a coast-to-coast play by small forward Mohammed al Bachir Gadiaga reduced their deficit to 80-75 with one minute and 17 seconds left until the final buzzer.

In the final minute, both teams failed to score, which allowed the Suns to advance to the finals.

DEA shooting guard Hsieh Ya-hsuan (謝亞軒) led all scorers with 23 points, while Suns guard Anthony Tucker and forward Sani Sakakini led their team with 17 points each.

At the postgame press conference, Suns head coach Iurgi Caminos said his team played their best defense all season in the first quarter of the game.

"The energy we put on the court from the first minute was amazing," Caminos said.

Suns head coach Iurgi Caminos. Photo courtesy of the T1 LEAGUE
Suns head coach Iurgi Caminos. Photo courtesy of the T1 LEAGUE

However, the energy moved over to the DEA when they rallied to make their shots, putting pressure on the Suns, Caminos said.

"But slowly, we realized how to better find shots and how to stop their game, and especially in the last quarter," Caminos said.

The Suns were able to control the rhythm of the game in the last quarter and clinch a place in the finals, Caminos said.

Speaking about the upcoming best-of-five final series against the Kaohsiung Aquas, Caminos said it would be tough as the Aquas were the best team in the regular season, winning 23 games out of the 30 they played.

"It's going to be a big battle," Caminos said. "At the same time, we know that we are able to beat them and this is important for us."

The first game of the finals will tip off May 31 at Kaohsiung Fengshan Stadium.

The Taichung Wagor Suns. Photo courtesy of the T1 LEAGUE
The Taichung Wagor Suns. Photo courtesy of the T1 LEAGUE

Dreamers overpower Kings

Meanwhile, in the P. LEAGUE+, Taiwan's other professional basketball league, the Formosa Taishin Dreamers overpowered the New Taipei Kings 100-85 at Xinzhuang Gymnasium Saturday in the last game of the league's regular season.

Dreamers center Stefan Janković. Photo courtesy of the P. LEAGUE+
Dreamers center Stefan Janković. Photo courtesy of the P. LEAGUE+

The Dreamers finished the regular season with a 19-11 record and will enter the four-team playoffs as the second seeds behind top seeds Hsinchu Jko Lioneers, while the Taipei Fubon Braves are the third seeds, followed by the fourth-seeded Kings.

The playoffs are scheduled to start June 3 with the Lioneers hosting the Kings at Hsinchu County Stadium in the first game of a five-game series, while the Dreamers will play the Braves in the other playoff series starting June 4.

(By William Yen)

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