MANILA, Philippines – The Niigata Albirex BB once again suffered a second-half meltdown as the Levanga Hokkaido sent them to their 26th straight loss off a 107-85 home blowout in the Japan B. League on Wednesday, January 26.
Kobe Paras went wild for 10 points in the first five minutes of the game, but got stifled with foul trouble as he ended up with 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting in just under 21 minutes.
On a positive note, this was still the struggling Filipino import’s first double-digit scoring game in 13 outings, and was his highest scoring mark since dropping 15 markers back in November 14, 2021 against the defending champion Chiba Jets.
But that was the only good takeaway in this game for the hapless Albirex, as they got buried by a huge 15-0 Levanga run that turned a 70-54 lead to an insurmountable 31-point gap, 85-54, with 52 ticks left in the third quarter.
A late Paras triple to complete a perfect 3-of-3 clip sliced the deficit to 19 with 1:57 left in regulation, but that was as near as Niigata would go before the final buzzer.
Former NBA player Shawn Long went berserk for a 32-point, 16-rebound outing in just 25 minutes, while NBA champion Jeff Ayres paced another blowout loss with 17 markers, 4 boards, and 3 assists.
The freefalling Niigata squad now holds a 2-27 record while Hokkaido snapped a four-game slide for a 12-17 slate.
Paras and Niigata can stop their months-long skid against Javi Gomez de Liaño and the Ibaraki Robots on Saturday, January 29.
Hokkaido 107 – Long 32, Brooks 23, Terazono 9, Maki 8, Matsushita 7, Nnanna 6, Yamaguchi 5, Hashimoto 5, Miller 5, Nakano 4, Sakurai 3, Tamaki 0.
Niigata 85 – Ayres 17, Allen 16, Nephawe 16, Paras 14, Nohmi 8, Endo 8, Kimura 4, Ohya 2, Okamoto 0, Sato 0, Ikeda 0.
Quarters: 27-21, 50-39, 87-58, 107-85.