MANILA, Philippines – After suffering two heartbreaking losses in the opening weekend of the 2022-2023 Japan B. League season, Thirdy Ravena and the San-En NeoPhoenix cracked the win column with a 76-57 demolition of Dwight Ramos and the Levanga Hokkaido on Saturday, October 8.
The third-year NeoPhoenix Asian import Ravena, however, had a quiet game as he came up with just 5 points on 2-of-7 shooting, while his fellow Gilas Pilipinas stalwart Ramos topscored for the Hokkaido in the loss with 15 points, on top of 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 5 steals, and 2 blocks.
Kosuke Kanamaru paced San-En with 17 points, while Yante Maten, Isaiah Hicks, and Kazuki Hosokawa added 15, 13, and 11, respectively.
With Hokkaido staying within striking distance after three quarters, 49-57, San-En shifted into high gear at the start of fourth period and opened the frame with a 13-0 blast to push their lead to 21 points, 70-49, with only 6:42 to go.
The NeoPhoenix never looked back the rest of the way as they improved to 1-2 in the standings, while keeping the Levanga winless in three games.
Also in Division 1, Ray Parks and the Nagoya Diamond Dolphins kept their undefeated start going with a 94-72 thrashing of Jay Washington and the Ryukyu Golden Kings, while Kiefer Ravena and the Shiga Lakes captured their breakthrough victory off a 96-88 overtime escape of the Niigata Albirex BB.
Both Parks and Ravena continued their streak of double-digit scoring outings early in the season, with the former putting up 11 points, while the latter tallying a near double-double of 10 markers and 8 dimes.
Washington, on the one hand, went scoreless in only 2 minutes of action as his Golden Kings had no answer for Parks’ red-hot Dolphins from start to finish.
Over in Division 2, Greg Slaughter, who had a forgettable B. League debut for the Rizing Zephyr Fukuoka, where he failed to put up any numbers in just 1 minute and 22 seconds of play on Friday, October 7, had a longer and much-better time on the floor this time around as he recorded 4 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals in 14 minutes.
However, Slaughter and the Rizing Zephyr dropped once again to the Ehime Orange Vikings in a close one, 80-76.
Fighting Eagles Nagoya def. Kyoto Hannaryz, 78-66. (Matthew Wright – DNP.)
Hiroshima Dragonflies def. Kawasaki Brave Thunders, 72-71. (Justine Baltazar – DNP.)
Nagasaki Velca def. Kagawa Five Arrows, 90-81. (Jordan Heading – 9 points, 4/11 FG, 4 rebs, 6 asts, 1 stl, 30 mins.)
Yamagata Wyverns def. Altiri Chiba, 89-86. (Kobe Paras – DNP.)