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BASKETBALL/Chiu's gaming-winning 3 seals Aquas' 1st victory during home opener

12/03/2023 02:22 PM
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Kaohsiung Aquas player Chiu Tzu-hsuan (in white). Photo courtesy of the Kaohsiung Aquas Dec. 3, 2023
Kaohsiung Aquas player Chiu Tzu-hsuan (in white). Photo courtesy of the Kaohsiung Aquas Dec. 3, 2023

Taipei, Dec. 3 (CNA) The Kaohsiung Aquas' T1 LEAGUE home opener on Saturday was a tough slog, with the team trailing New Taipei CTBC DEA 63-40 at halftime, but their fortunes reversed just before the final buzzer following a three-pointer by Chiu Tzu-hsuan (邱子軒), which left the final score at 94-93.

The Aquas were two points behind in the fourth quarter with about five seconds to go, when center Lu Wei-ting (呂威霆) grabbed a defensive rebound following a missed trey by Huang Hung-han (黃泓瀚).

After receiving the pass from point guard Jason Brickman at the left wing with one second remaining, Chiu hoisted the shot from beyond the arc and beat the buzzer, bringing over 8,000 spectators at Kaohsiung Area to their feet.

"I told Jason to pass the ball to me and I could see Da Han [Huang] coming toward me but I tried for the shot anyway. I've pulled off game-winning shots in high school and university, but this one definitely impressed me the most!" Chiu said.

The Aquas tied the T1 LEAGUE record for the largest comeback win after they rallied from 25 points behind in the third quarter.

Furthermore, Chiu's shot inflicted the first loss of the season on the DEA, breaking the defending champions' four-game winning streak.

The Aquas' win was particularly surprising considering Chiu's struggles during his second pro season.

The 23-year-old has failed to score more than five points and has only nailed a quarter of his 12 three-pointer attempts in his last four games.

He started Saturday's match much the same, only scoring one of his eight shots in the first half, including missing all six three-pointers. With just seconds to go, he had missed 12 of 14 attempts overall, before his late game-winner.

"I know we lost three games in a row, but we won the most important match during our return to the home court today! Let's go!" the Taichung native shouted during his post-match interview.

The three straight losses marked the second-longest losing streak in the Kaohsiung team's history. The team lost five consecutive games during the 2022-23 season.

Coach Brendan Joyce praised Chiu for always bringing energy to the court and making the most of every scoring opportunity.

Meanwhile, big man Mindaugas Kupšas put up a game-high 29 points and 15 boards for the Aquas, while Mohammed al Bachir Gadiaga led the DEA with 28 points.

The Aquas will host the Tainan TSG GhostHawks at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

(By Chao Yen-hsiang)

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