MANILA, Philippines – The Niigata Albirex BB continued their months-long freefall down the Japan B. League standings as the Hiroshima Dragonflies swept the weekend road trip with an 82-63 rout on Sunday, December 19.
Not even Kobe Paras’ defensive spurt of 3 steals and 1 block in 15 minutes off the bench were enough to offset the facts that he only had 2 points, and that his team still skidded down to a league-worst 18th straight loss for a putrid 2-19 record.
Once again, Niigata was competitive only until the halftime mark, as Hiroshima held on to just a small 39-34 lead.
It was immediately a different story at the turn of the latter frames, as the Dragonflies darted ahead to an insurmountable, game-high 27-point lead, 68-41, after a 29-7 third quarter blast.
The Albirex only got as near as 13 points, 63-76, with yet another late run, but it was a moot point by then as there were only 62 ticks left in regulation.
Hulking import Gregory Echenique led the balanced Hiroshima attack with 18 points, and 7 rebounds, while top Niigata reinforcement Rosco Allen scattered 19 markers, 5 boards, and 4 assists in another forgettable defeat.
Paras aims to get back his offensive groove against fellow Pinoy import Kiefer Ravena as the Albirex get another crack at stopping their skid against the Shiga Lakestars on Christmas weekend, December 25 and 26.
Big losses are also a recurring theme for the Aomori Wat’s over at Division 2 as the mighty Fighting Eagles Nagoya completed the easy weekend sweep with a 95-56 mauling.
Gilas Pilipinas project big man Kemark Cariño failed to see the court despite the blowout for the 2-21 Wat’s, which will face the Saga Ballooners by next weekend.
Juan Gomez de Liaño was likewise absent as the 5-18 Earthfriends Tokyo Z clinched their first winning streak of the season off a 94-82 win over the Bambitious Nara, and are now looking to stay hot next weekend against the Kagawa Five Arrows.
On the other hand, Juan’s elder brother Javi did suit up, but just played spot minutes as the Division 1 powerhouse Alvark Tokyo made light work of the Ibaraki Robots, 98-73.
In 10 minutes off the bench, the Gilas forward recorded 1 rebound, 1 assist, and 1 block as the 3-18 Robots prepare for their next weekend slate against Fil-Jap Matt Aquino and the Shinshu Brave Warriors.
Speaking of the Warriors, they too have a worsening seven-game losing streak in need of breaking by Christmas after the Shimane Susanoo Magic eked out a 75-67 win to sweep their home stand.
Aquino, after two surprise starts, reverted back to his bench role and chipped in 2 points, 1 rebound, and 1 steal in under 9 minutes of action as Shinshu fell to a 9-12 record. – Rappler.com