MANILA, Philippines – The Niigata Albirex BB once again fell short in changing their fortunes in the Japan B. League as the Shinshu Brave Warriors sent them to their 24th straight loss, 76-64, on Saturday, January 22.
Filipino-Japanese big man Matt Aquino failed to crack the rotation anew as his team improved to an 11-16 record for the season.
Meanwhile, his fellow Pinoy Kobe Paras continued to struggle mightily in yet another defeat as he was held scoreless in 22 minutes off a 0-of-5 clip, but had 3 steals, 2 rebounds, and 1 assist to avoid a completely barren line.
It was all Brave Warriors offense from the get-go as they fired off an early 16-4 run at the 2:12 mark of the first quarter, and basically never looked back.
Niigata got as near as 7 points, 16-23, midway through the second period, but Shinshu again put it out of doubt with a 7-0 response for the 30-16 gap at the 3:22 mark.
The Albirex failed to move the needle at all in the second half as the Brave Warriors peaked with a 17-point lead, 64-47, with 7:25 left in the final frame off a Reo Maeda floater.
Maeda led all scorers in the easy win with 25 points, and 5 assists on 11-of-17 shooting, while NBA champion center Jeff Ayres paced another loss with a 23-marker, 12-rebound double-double plus 5 dimes, a steal, and a block.
For the rematch, Paras and Niigata will try to avoid the quarter-century mark in their ballooning losing skid on Sunday, January 23, 4:05 pm, Manila time.
Shinshu 76 – Maeda 25, Marshall 17, Kumagai 13, Hawkinson 5, Yang 5, Nishiyama 4, Mitsui 3, Kurihara 3, McHenry 1.
Niigata 64 – Ayres 23, Allen 15, Kimura 12, Endo 7, Nohmi 4, Ikeda 3, Watanuki 0, Okamoto 0, Ohya 0, Nephawe 0, Paras 0.
Quarters: 16-7, 31-23, 56-43, 76-64.