Japan B. League

Filipino imports shine in action-packed Japan B. League weekend

Martin Mendoza

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Filipino imports shine in action-packed Japan B. League weekend

TOP FORM. Yokohama's Kai Sotto goes for a shot in Japan B. League action.


Kai Sotto scores a season-high 16 points, while Matthew Wright puts up back-to-back 20-plus-point performances as Filipino imports impress in the Japan B. League

MANILA, Philippines – While many Filipino basketball fans were tuned in to the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals and the Strong Group Athletics’ campaign in the 33rd Dubai International Basketball Championship, the Filipino imports in the Japan B. League silently delivered stellar performances for their respective teams this weekend. 

On Saturday, January 27, Kai Sotto scored a season-high in points in the Yokohama B-Corsairs’ 98-86 loss to the Shimane Susanoo Magic. 

Playing over 20 minutes for the first time this season, Sotto also breached the double-digit scoring territory for the first time in a Yokohama uniform, dropping 16 points on a very efficient 8-of-12 shooting, 5 rebounds, and 1 block.

The 7-foot-3 Sotto followed up his 16-point output on Saturday with 9 points, 2 rebounds, and 1 assist on Sunday, January 28, but Yokohama fell to Shimane anew, 94-73.

Meanwhile, Matthew Wright was on a mission for the Kyoto Hannaryz as they split their weekend assignment against the defending champion Ryukyu Golden Kings.

Wright led the Hannaryz in scoring in their two matches this weekend, putting up 20 points in their 94-85 win on Saturday, before seeing his 22-point, 9-rebound, and 8-assist explosion go down the drain in their 86-81 loss the next day. 

Like Wright, Dwight Ramos and Thirdy Ravena scored in double figures twice for the Levanga Hokkaido and the San-En NeoPhoenix, respectively, this weekend.

Ramos had 17 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, and 1 block in Hokkaido’s 79-73 loss to RJ Abarrientos and the Shinshu Brave Warriors on Saturday.

He then came up with 18 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals, and 1 block in their 90-56 bounce-back win against the same opponents on Sunday. 

Ramos’ Filipino counterpart Abarrientos had a quiet weekend for Shinshu as he was held to just 9 points in those two matches combined. 

Thirdy, for his part, produced 12 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals in the NeoPhoenix’s 98-75 Saturday thrashing of Nagasaki, before tallying 15 markers, 8 boards, and 5 dimes in their 103-68 victory the day after. 

With the weekend sweep of Nagasaki, San-En extended its winning streak further to 11 games for a 29-4 record. The NeoPhoenix remain tied with the Alvark Tokyo at the No. 1 spot.  

Over in Division 2, Kiefer Ravena recorded the most points scored by a Filipino import this weekend.

After being limited to just 8 points in the Shiga Lakes’ 105-89 win versus the Fukushima Firebonds on Saturday, Kiefer erupted for a near double-double of 24 points and 8 assists on Sunday.

Kiefer and the rest of the Lakes, however, failed to make it two wins in a row as they suffered a 108-105 defeat to close out the weekend. – Rappler.com

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