The Cairns Taipans have come back from a third-quarter blitz by Perth to edge the Wildcats 71-64 in their Australian basketball league semi-final at home in far North Queensland.
The Taipans prevailed despite being held to just two points for the third quarter by the defending champions, after the home side had established a comfortable 43-30 half-time lead.
The big third quarter from the Wildcats, inspired by their captain Damian Martin's defence, finished with an 11-0 run and the visitors were up 48-45 heading into the final stretch.
But an 8-0 run from Cairns was enough to set up the winning margin.
The New Zealand Breakers beat the 36ers in Adelaide in Saturday night's second clash of their three-game series and lie in wait for the winners, which could be decided in Sunday night's second game if Cairns triumph.
Home advantage will be determined by the outcome of the Taipans-Wildcats series, with the Breakers holding the edge over Perth, but Cairns having the advantage over the Breakers.