MANILA, Philippines – The Niigata Albirex BB continued their league-worst losing slump in the Japan B. League as the visiting Akita Northern Happinets cruised to a 79-62 win on Saturday, December 4.
Kobe Paras finished with a modest 9 points on 4-of-9 shooting and 1 assist as the Albirex suffered their 12th straight loss for a league-worst 2-13 record, tied with the Ibaraki Robots and Kyoto Hannaryz.
Off a manageable 27-34 deficit before halftime, Niigata saw its comeback hopes fade away fast as Akita mounted a 19-6 run bridging the second and third quarters for the 20-point lead, 53-33, with 5:30 left in the frame.
Paras managed to get the Albirex within 12, 53-65, off a triple at the 6:49 mark of the fourth, but that was as near as they would get as the Happinets responded with a game-sealing 12-2 run to peak with a 22-point gap, 77-55, with 3:47 left in regulation.
Akita import Colton Iverson, who previously averaged just 6 points, and 4.5 rebounds, erupted for a game-high 21 markers in the easy win while fellow reinforcement Jordan Glynn added 18 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals, and 3 assists.
Niigata now looks to end its long stretch of misery in the Sunday, December 5 rematch at 4:05 pm, Manila time.
The San-En NeoPhoenix likewise had a Saturday to forget as the Seahorses Mikawa soared to a 104-71 blowout on the road.
Justin Knox paced the eight-man NeoPhoenix with 26 points and 8 rebounds in the loss as fellow import Thirdy Ravena served the first of his two-game suspension following a postgame outburst in Toyama last November 14.
After missing the game-tying free throw with little time left against his compatriot Dwight Ramos, a frustrated Ravena damaged a baseline signboard which prompted the league to slap the two-game ban and a fine of 100,000 yen (P43,000).
Three weeks after a FIBA window break, Ravena was then forced to do nothing but watch his team go down quietly to its seventh straight loss for a 3-12 record.
Former NBA player Jarrod Uthoff tallied a monster 26-point, 16-rebound double-double in the easy win, and is poised for another big game in the Ravena-less rematch on Sunday, 1:05 pm.
Finally, the Utsunomiya Brex earned a 73-62 road win at the expense of Matt Aquino and the Shinshu Brave Warriors.
Local guard Makoto Hiejima led the victory with 19 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, and 1 steal while Aquino was limited to just 1 rebound in 3 minutes off the bench on the other end.
Top Shinshu scorer Yuta Okada paced the loss with 15 markers, and is now looking for a bounce-back performance in the Sunday rematch at 1:05 pm. – Rappler.com