The New Taipei CTBC DEA drew strong performances from several of their sharpshooters at home Saturday to top the T1 LEAGUE defending champion Kaohsiung Aquas 93-86.
DEA forward Nicholas King shot the lights out with 33 points, while teammate small forward Mohammad Al Bachir Gadiaga, known to local fans as "Abbasi" (???), added 18 points and new DEA recruit Kaspars Berzinš of Latvia had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
The win extended the DEA's winning streak to four games and gave them a 13-4 record, keeping them atop the six-team's league standings, while the 11-9 Aquas dropped their fourth straight game to fall 3.5 games behind the DEA in third place.
Berzinš credited the energy of his teammates for the win.
"I love the basketball our team is playing, I get excited off the energy everybody is putting in. If only I could help this team more, it would be such a pleasure," Berzinš said.
Meanwhile, King said the DEA drew a lot of confidence from Saturday's win.
"We just need to fix the small things, just keep the same energy, keep competing on defense, keep rebounding the ball, keep helping each other out, and everything's going to be good," King said.
The Aquas were actually up by 10 at Xinzhuang Gymnasium at the end of the first quarter, but DEA used its speed to pick up fast break baskets and go up by eight, 52-44, at halftime.
The intensity built up in the second half as the Aquas rallied behind their two big men to pull within two, 73-71, entering the final quarter, and had the DEA on the brink when they pulled to within 85-84 with just under four minutes to go.
But a key miss by the Aquas' Allen Yu (???) from behind the arc and then a basket by King after three misses and offensive rebounds by the DEA blunted whatever momentum Kaohsiung had.
While the Aquas lost the ball twice and missed two shots, the DEA made its next three baskets to take an insurmountable 93-84 lead and ice the game.
GhostHawks outhustle Suns
Also, in the T1 LEAGUE on Saturday, the visiting Tainan TSG GhostHawks outhustled the Taichung Suns 91-84 at National Taiwan University of Sport Gymnasium, handing the central Taiwan team its second consecutive loss.
Suns center Aaron Geramipoor led all scorers with 23 points and had 11 rebounds and four steals, while GhostHawks center Robert Upshaw III answered with 20 points, 21 rebounds, two assists, and one block.
The 11-8 GhostHawks are now in second place in the league standings, three games behind the DEA, while the 6-11 Suns are fifth, seven games behind the New Taipei team.
Steelers and Jeremy Lin escape Lioneers
Meanwhile, in Taiwan's other professional basketball league, the P. LEAGUE+, the Kaohsiung 17LIVE Steelers overcame the Hsinchu Jko Lioneers 95-82 at Hsinchu County Stadium on Saturday behind another outstanding performance from Jeremy Lin.
The former NBA sensation put up 32 points and added seven rebounds, seven assists, and four steals to pace the win, the team's second in three ties since Lin joined the club earlier this month.
Still, the cellar-dwelling Steelers remained at the bottom of the six-team league standings with a 4-18 record, 12.5 games behind the 16-5 New Taipei Kings at the top.
The Lioneers extended their consecutive loss streak to five and had a 10-15 record, putting them into a tie for fourth place with the Formosa Taishin Dreamers, eight games behind the Kings.
Kings edge Pilots
Also on Saturday, the Kings edged past the Taoyuan Pauian Pilots 77-73 at Taoyuan Arena.
The Pilots picked up their third consecutive loss and fell to 14-8, 2.5 games behind the Kings in third place in the league.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel