Chiba Jets Remain Undefeated in Tight Game, Punches Ticket to Finals

March 9, 2024

5 mins

Chiba Jets Remain Undefeated in Tight Game, Punches Ticket to Finals
Chiba Jets Remain Undefeated in Tight Game, Punches Ticket to Finals

Written by EASL

Final Four Semifinals – Chiba Jets 92 vs. New Taipei Kings 84

March 8, 2024 – Hoops Dome, Cebu

New Taipei Kings star Jeremy Lin was sidelined with an injury, and watched his brother, Joseph Lin, erupt for 21 points. However, a potential upset by the New Taipei Kings was quashed late in the fourth quarter by the Chiba Jets.

They exchanged leads throughout the course of the game, and the back-and-forth semi-final affair came right down to the wire.

Post-Game Triple

  1. Back-and-forth affair 

There were lots of ‘What-you-can-do-I-can-do-better’ moments.  

In the first half, a pick-and-roll between Yuki Togashi and John Mooney that resulted in a Xavier Cooks' basket was emulated by a Joseph Lin-Austin Daye pick-and-roll that led to a Po-Chih Wang basket.

Most notably, the back-and-forth exchange between Togashi and Lin was the highlight of the game. When Lin drew ‘oohs’ from the crowd after hitting a mid-range jumper off a crossover, Togashi answered back by drilling a near-impossible three-pointer. He answered, again, with a pull-up mid-range jumper after crossing his defender over.

In the second half, Togashi hit a three-pointer with the shot clock winding down. On the following play, Lin answered right back with his own.

Togashi looked forward to playing against Jeremy Lin, but Joseph Lin's 21-point performance on five-for-11 three-point shooting gave Togashi one of the toughest EASL challenges that he'll remember.

  1. Late game heroics 

Late in the game, the New Taipei Kings scored five-straight points, and a potential victory for the underdogs seemed within reach. At halftime, Coach Marchand mentioned that all his team needed to do was “believe.” 

However, the hustle play of Chiba’s John Mooney in the final moments of the game was crucial. He threw the ball against New Taipei’s Hayden Blankley to maintain possession. That possession allowed Mooney to make a lay-up on the offensive end with 46 seconds left, turning the game from a one to two-possession game, with time on Chiba's side.

     3. Smart basketball   

Both teams displayed smart decision-making with the basketball.

Joseph Lin, often times, would reset, rather than force attacks on mismatches. His patient plays led to Blankley cutting in for an easy basket. Lin’s patience also led to an interior pass into Quincy Davis, who gave New Taipei a four-point lead. 

Yuki Togashi also worked the shot clock, especially in clutch time. On a specific play, he dribbled from the left wing to the weakside, remained poised, and hit a three-pointer after pump-faking his defender.

EASL Player of the Game: Yuki Togashi, Chiba Jets 

Yuki Togashi led all scorers with 28 points on 10-for-20 shooting, and had five assists. 

His razzle-dazzle, combined with his quickness, makes him one of the most exciting players to watch in the EASL. Despite his size, he is fearless when it comes to taking big shots. And more often than not, he makes them.

Whether his guard play and leadership translates into a victory over the Seoul SK Knights in the EASL Finals remains to be seen. 

Quote of the day

Chiba Jets forward Xavier Cooks:

On how strong the New Taipei Kings were, and Yuki Togashi leading Chiba to victory:

“First off, those guys gave us the biggest battle we’ve had this whole league. Man, those guys really pushed us – down without Jeremy Lin – so credit to those boys. But when times get tough, we know we got Yuki on our squad, so we’re all good.”

Stat of the day

It’s easy to see why a team won or lost in hindsight, but the pendulum could have swung either way.

The three fouls accrued earlier in the game by New Taipei’s Kenny Manigault did not allow him to play as aggressively as he usually does. He finished the game with only seven points. 

In contrast, Chiba’s Xavier Cooks struggled from the charity stripe, shooting four-for-12. He was a 77% free throw shooter during the EASL season, and if he made more free throws, Chiba could have won by a bigger margin.

Chiba also turned the ball over 18 times compared to New Taipei’s 12. If Chiba took better care of the basketball, they may not have had to rely on late-game heroics.

Postgame Press Conference

Part 1

Part 2

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