Japan B. League

Dwight Ramos, Toyama hand Kiefer Ravena, Shiga 9th straight loss

Martin Mendoza
Dwight Ramos, Toyama hand Kiefer Ravena, Shiga 9th straight loss

BIG GAME. Dwight Ramos finishes with a double-digit performance.

JAPAN B. LEAGUE

Dwight Ramos outduels Kiefer Ravena as the Toyama Grouses outlast the Shiga Lakestars in the clutch

MANILA, Philippines – Dwight Ramos came up big for the Toyama Grouses as they took down Kiefer Ravena and the Shiga Lakestars, 107-102, in the Japan B. League on Saturday, December 11 at the Ukaru-chan Arena. 

Playing against the older Ravena for the first time in a professional setup, Ramos tallied 18 points on a very efficient 7-of-11 shooting, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 block for Toyama, which snapped its two-game losing streak and improved to 5-12 in the standings.

Ravena, on the other hand, finished with a near double-double of 8 points and 9 assists, to go with 2 steals and 1 rebound for Shiga, which dropped its ninth straight game and moved further down the standings with a 6-11 record.

“It was my first time playing in a real game against Kiefer, but in practices, the national team practices, I played against him,” said Ramos after the game.

“But playing in a real game like this, it’s just a nice opportunity for us Filipinos. Especially because going to the Philippines, I was a rookie, he (Ravena) was the vet. He looked after me there,” Ramos added.

With the Lakestars trailing by just 1, 78-79, at the start of the final frame, the Grouses went on a huge 13-4 run to put some separation and lead by as many as 10, 92-82, with 6:34 to go.

The Lakestars, however, managed to crawl back and held the lead, 96-95, off a free throw by Ovie Soko with 3:41 remaining.

It was a back-and-forth battle between both squads in the following possessions, before the Grouses converted on three consecutive baskets to lead by 6, 104-98, with just 1:35 left on the clock.

A jumper by Sean O’mara and two free throws by Ravena cut Toyama’s lead back to 2, 104-102, with 30 seconds left to play, but Ramos and Keijuro Matsui ultimately sealed the deal with three straight charities on the other end.

“Today’s game was pretty exciting. High-scoring, back and forth, you know, until the very end, when we finally got a couple of free throws to close it out,” said Ramos.

“I was just out there trying to rebound, do some hustle plays, and just kind of get in where I can, fit in with the team, and try to run the plays. That’s just what my thing is here when I’m playing,” he added.

Julian Mavunga exploded for 37 points, along with 8 rebounds, and 9 assists for Toyama in the victory, while Brice Johnson contributed 25 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists.

Ovie Soko came up with a double-double of 25 points and 13 rebounds for Shiga in the losing effort, while Novar Gadson chipped in 18 markers.

Ramos and the Grouses will look to complete a weekend sweep of Ravena and the Lakestars on Sunday, December 12, when the two teams meet again on the hardwood at 1:35 pm, Manila time. – with an interview from Lionel Piguet

The Scores

Toyama 107 – Mavunga 37, Johnson 25, Ramos 18, Matsui 16, Kamisawa 6, Ametani 3, Uto 2, Ono 0, Abe 0, Mito 0.

Shiga 102 – Soko 25, Gadson 18, Ozawa 13, O’mara 11, Ravena 8, Kashiwagura 8, Hayashi 6, Moriyama 6, Imagawa 5, Nomoto 2, Shibuta 0.

Quarters: 25-26, 48-46, 79-78, 107-102.

– Rappler.com