Japan’s Ryukyu downs China’s Guangzhou to clinch Terrific 12 title

Delfin Dioquino

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Japan’s Ryukyu downs China’s Guangzhou to clinch Terrific 12 title
The Golden Kings sweep their way into the championship

MACAU – Japan’s Ryukyu Golden Kings lived up to their name as they bagged the championship in the Asia League Terrific 12.

The Golden Kings stayed perfect in the invitational tournament after hacking out an 85-76 triumph over China’s Guangzhou Long Lions in the winner-take-all finals at the Studio City Event Center here on Sunday, September 23. 

Demolishing its opponents by an average of 20.3 points in its past three wins, Ryukyu had trouble shrugging off Guangzhou but nonetheless pulled through in the endgame thanks to Ryuichi Kishimoto. 

Kishimoto, who was named Finals Most Valuable Player, buried three crucial triples in the fourth quarter and finished with 21 points to bail out the Golden Kings against the Long Lions powered by import Kyle Fogg’s 40 points. 

With the score knotted at 70-all midway through the fourth period, Ryukyu uncorked an 8-2 spurt – sparked and capped by Kishimoto treys – for a 78-72 advantage. 

Fogg, who also had 4 rebounds and 4 assists, tried to mount a last-ditch comeback for Guangzhou but to no avail as imports Jeff Ayres and Josh Scott took over for Ryukyu in the final minute.

Scott finished with 21 points, 16 rebounds and 2 steals while Ayres had 11 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists.

Ira Brown added 11 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals and Narito Namizato chipped in 8 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists in the win. 

Ju Mingxin was the only other Guangzhou player to breach double figures with 13 points, 3 rebounds and 2 steals as former NBA champion Marreese Speights was limited to 9 points and 12 boards. – Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.