MANILA, Philippines – The Osaka Evessa spoiled the Japan B. League return of Gilas Pilipinas hotshot Dwight Ramos as they took down the Toyama Grouses, 76-66, on Wednesday, March 9.
Ramos, who showed the way for the national team in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers just over a week ago, finished with 9 points on 4-of-8 shooting, 5 rebounds, and 1 block, but those numbers were clearly not enough as Toyama now dropped to 16-23 in the standings.
Trailing by as many as 13 points, 36-49, late in the third quarter, the Grouses went on a 21-8 run to tie the game at 57-all with 5:18 left to play in the fourth and final frame.
Toyama, however, ran out of gas from that point on as Osaka unleashed its own furious rally to extend its lead back to double figures, 73-63, which put the Grouses away for good with only a minute left on the clock.
DJ Newbill led the charge for the Evessa with 31 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists, while Japan’s naturalized player and former PBA import Ira Brown added 13 markers, 12 boards, and 5 dimes.
Brice Johnson topscored for the Grouses with 16 points, to go along with 13 rebounds, while former TNT reinforcement Joshua Smith tallied his own double-double of 15 markers and 11 boards.
Toyama will look to return to its winning ways when it faces the Kyoto Hannaryz on Wednesday, March 16, at 6:05 pm, Manila time.
Like Ramos and the Grouses, Kobe Paras and the Niigata Albirex BB suffered a double-digit loss to the third-seeded Alvark Tokyo, 93-64.
After dropping 17 points in Niigata’s previous outing, Paras failed to sustain his fiery form as he tallied just 6 points on a 2-of-6 clip from the field and 1 assist in 13 minutes.
With its third straight loss, Niigata remained as the division’s worst team with a 5-32 record.
Sebastian Saiz put up a monster double-double of 34 points and 23 rebounds, while Alex Kirk added 23 points for Tokyo, which already blew the game open with a 29-15 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Alvark never looked back from there on as they even managed to stretch their lead to its biggest at 34 points, 84-50, off a dunk by Saiz late in the payoff period.
Rosco Allen once again paced the Albirex BB with 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Yuto Nohmi chipped in 15 markers.
Niigata shoots for its sixth win of the season when it tangles with the Kawasaki Brave Thunders on Wednesday, March 16, also at 6:05 pm, Manila time.
Meanwhile, in Division 2, Kemark Cariño and the Aomori Wat’s absorbed their 21st straight loss after falling to the Yamagata Wyverns in a heartbreaker, 69-65.
With Aomori already on top by 5, 61-56, with 4 minutes left to play in the game, Yamagata went on a massive 11-2 run to lead by 4, 67-63, with only a minute remaining.
A basket by Aomori’s Renaldo Dixon in the following possession pulled the Wat’s back to within just 2, 65-67, but Yamagata’s Jawad Williams quickly countered with his own jumper on the other end to ultimately seal the victory for the Wyverns.
The former Gilas big man Cariño, who fouled out in Aomori’s past two outings, recorded just 1 foul this time around, together with 2 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 assist in only 5 minutes of playing time.
The Wat’s, whose record now dropped to 2-37, will look to finally put an end to their disastrous losing streak when they take on the Kumamoto Volters on Saturday, March 12.
Finally, in contrast to Ramos’ Toyama, Paras’ Niigata, and Cariño’s Aomori, Matt Aquino and the Shinshu Brave Warriors picked up a 103-94 win over the Levanga Hokkaido.
However, the Filipino-Japanese Aquino, who recently made his national team debut for the “Akatsuki Five” in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, rode the bench anew in the victory.
The Brave Warriors will also be back in action on Wednesday, March 16, against Thirdy Ravena and the San-En NeoPhoenix at 6:05 pm, Manila time. – Rappler.com