Focus Taiwan App
Download

BASKETBALL/Pilots hand Braves fifth straight loss behind Lu's 40 points

03/25/2024 10:13 PM
To activate the text-to-speech service, please first agree to the privacy policy below.
Taoyuan Pauian Pilots shooting guard Lu Chun-hsiang (No. 69) celebrates his 40 point game after making a three-pointer in the fourth quarter in Sunday's home game. Photo: Taoyuan Pauian Pilots March 24, 2024
Taoyuan Pauian Pilots shooting guard Lu Chun-hsiang (No. 69) celebrates his 40 point game after making a three-pointer in the fourth quarter in Sunday's home game. Photo: Taoyuan Pauian Pilots March 24, 2024

Taipei, March 25 (CNA) Lu Chun-hsiang (盧峻翔) scored 40 points as the Taoyuan Pauian Pilots trounced the Taipei Fubon Braves 98-76 at home Sunday, dealing the three-time P.LEAGUE+ (PLG) defending champions another blow to their playoff hopes.

The 40 points set a career high for Lu, who turned it on in the second half, hitting five three-pointers and scoring 30 points, including 20 in the fourth quarter.

That performance gave the Pilots their fourth consecutive win while extending the Braves' losing streak to five, their longest ever in nearly four full seasons in the PLG.

It also left the Braves two games behind the fourth place Hsinchu Toplus Lioneers in the race for the PLG's final playoff berth.

The Pilots were never threatened in the fourth quarter, and with the game well in hand, the game turned into the Lu Chun-hsiang show down the stretch.

He broke his personal scoring record of 34 on a fast break layup with 3:39 left in the game, giving him 35 points, and then added another layup about 30 seconds later.

When the Braves called a timeout with 1:57 left after a defensive foul by Jet Chang (張宗憲), the Pilots gave Lu a chance to break the PLG scoring record for a Taiwan-born player, set by Formosa Dreamers point guard Lin Chun-chi (林俊吉) with 39 in the 2020-21 season.

Lu takes a post-game interview after Sunday's win. Photo: P.LEAGUE+ March 24, 2024
Lu takes a post-game interview after Sunday's win. Photo: P.LEAGUE+ March 24, 2024

After the inbounds pass, Lu circled around the court without the ball, trying to get Chang, the Braves' best Taiwanese one-on-one defender, screened off to get himself a clean look from three-point range.

He ended up open in the right corner as Chang was helped by a pick by Pilots big man Lin Cheng (林正). Taking a pass from Pai Yao-cheng (白曜誠), he put up a three-point shot without hesitation and hit nothing but net, giving him 40 points.

"When I saw the coach draw up the play for me during the timeout, I felt I was poised to get that [shot]. I'm glad I made it. If I hadn't, I'd be disappointed," Lu said.

Asked about that play, Pilots head coach Iurgi Caminos said veteran Chou Yi-hsiang (周儀翔) told him, "Don't stop Justin [Lu]," when there were two minutes left. So he drew up the play, and "he [Lu] executed it really well."

"When a player is in the zone like he was, with everything going in, I'm happy for that," the 45-year-old Spaniard said.

Lu not only became the PLG's first Taiwan-born local player to score at least 40 points in a game. He joined Jeremy Lin (林書豪) of the New Taipei Kings as the second non-imported player to reach the milestone.

It was also Lu's 11th consecutive game to score in double figures, pushing his scoring average to 17 points per game, leading all local players.

He may have also pulled even in the regular-season MVP race with Lin of the Dreamers, especially after Jeremy Lin was disqualified because he was banned for five games on March 19 over a blood treatment issue.

That announcement meant that the Taiwanese-American guard of "Linsanity" fame, who had already missed 10 games before the suspension due to a lingering left foot injury, will not be able to reach the 27-game threshold needed to qualify for the MVP award.

The Pilots have won eight of nine games since the Lunar New Year break and are now tied with the Kings for second place, only one game behind the Dreamers.

Taipei Fubon Braves veteran Tsai Wen-cheng. Photo: P.LEAGUE+ March 24, 2024
Taipei Fubon Braves veteran Tsai Wen-cheng. Photo: P.LEAGUE+ March 24, 2024

For the Braves, they have to figure out how to get out of their slump that could see them miss the playoffs for the first time in four PLG seasons.

Braves head coach Roger Hsu (許晉哲), now 50, said he experienced a similar skid when he was a junior coach in the quasi-professional Super Basketball League (SBL), but the situations are different because his players back then were young.

"Young players are not afraid of making mistakes; like the Pilots, they dare to hustle on the court, regardless of the result. But many of our players are veterans, and when a slump takes hold, they have trouble stopping it even if they want to do so," Hsu said.

(By Chao Yen-hsiang)

Enditem/ls

View All
0:00
/
0:00
We value your privacy.
Focus Taiwan (CNA) uses tracking technologies to provide better reading experiences, but it also respects readers' privacy. Click here to find out more about Focus Taiwan's privacy policy. When you close this window, it means you agree with this policy.
172.30.142.27