JASON Brickman set up Hu Long-mao for the game-winner as Kaohsiung Aquas drew first blood in the inaugural T1 League Finals with a 101-99 squeaker over the Taichung Wagor Suns on Tuesday at Fengshan Gymnasium.
The Fil-Am playmaker tracked the sweet-shooting swingman with 3.5 seconds left and Hu launched the shot over the outstretched arms of Jordan Heading with 0.7 of a second left to give the top seed the 1-0 lead in the best-of-five championship series.
Anthony Tucker had one last try, but his shot was way off as the final buzzer sounded.
Brickman had 19 points, 14 assists, eight rebounds, and three steals for Taichung, two wins away from the maiden crown.
Hu shot 5-of-10 from deep and finished with 26 points, four boards, and two assists.
Lithuanian center Mindaugas Kupsas had 13 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks, Ferrakohn Hall had 13 points and seven boards, and Lin Jen-hung got 12 points, four assists, and three rebounds in the win.
The Aquas, however, almost botched the series opener as they lost nine-point lead, 97-88 with six minutes to play and allowed the Suns to rally back and take a 99-98 lead on Tucker's jumper with 46.4 seconds left.
Brickman and Tucker traded missed treys that led to one last opportunity for Kaohsiung to save face.
Game Two is on Thursday.
Tucker led Taichung with a near-triple-double performance of 33 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists, as Iranian big man Aaron Geramipoor got 30 points, 12 boards, and three steals.
Heading missed all of his three shots from deep and ended up with just eight points and three assists while picking up four fouls in the loss.
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