The Fubon Braves escape Bangkok with an unbeaten record as they survive the Hitech Basketball Club, 77-76, in the final game of the 2019 FIBA Asia Champions Cup East Inter-Sub Zone Qualifiers.

After four games worth of blowouts, the final day of the qualifiers finally featured close matches. Punjab Police outlasted SAFSA in the matinee, while the anticipated matchup between the two best teams tipped off in the tournament finale.

Both Fubon and Hitech came into the final game undefeated, completely dismantling the other two teams in the tournament by an combined average of 53.5 points.

After a slow, low-scoring start for both teams, the Thai side began to pull away in the second period behind a combined effort from imports Xavier Alexander and John Fields, going into half with a 44-33 lead.

Still down by 11 to open the final period, Fubon’s import guard Jequan Lewis helped spark the Braves on a 19-5 run to put themselves back in the game.

Refusing to give up while trailing 73-69, Nakorn Jaisanuk hit a clutch three to bring Hitech back to within one with a little over two minutes remaining in the game. And after a series of free throws on both ends, the game was tied at 75 apiece with 1:15 left on the clock.

Fubon’s Lewis hit a go-ahead jumper from the baseline to take a two-point lead, before Hitech’s Alexander split his free throws in the next possession. After missing the second, teammate Chanatip Jakrawan corralled the offensive board and was also fouled, but bricked both ensuing charities.

After another split at the foul line for Alexander, Hitech had one last attempt to win it after Fubon’s Tsai Wen-Cheng missed a three-point attempt, but Jaisanuk’s own potential game-winning three also came up short.

Charles Garcia led Fubon with 20 points and 12 rebounds, while Jequan Lewis added 18 points and five assists. Locals Lin Bing Sheng and Chang Po Wei remained steady and chipped in with 12 apiece.

Xavier Alexander did it all for Hitech, but missed crucial free throws in the endgame (Photo: FIBA)
Xavier Alexander did it all for Hitech, but missed crucial free throws in the endgame (Photo: FIBA)

Meanwhile, Xavier Alexander starred for Hitech with 29 points, nine rebounds, and six assists, while teammate John Fields had 20 points and 15 boards to go with three blocked shots.

Regardless of the result, both Hitech Basketball Club and the Fubon Braves have already qualified to be a part of the final eight teams in the 2019 FIBA Asia Champions Cup later this year as the best two squads in the qualifying tournament.

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