Japan B. League

Japan B.League report card: Quiet weekend for Filipino imports

Ariel Ian Clarito
Japan B.League report card: Quiet weekend for Filipino imports

STEPPING UP. The Nagoya Diamond Dolphins need Ray Parks to step up.

JAPAN B.LEAGUE

It was a slow weekend for Filipino imports as, aside from the Ravena brothers, Javi Gomez de Liaño was also missing in action due to an ankle injury

The Japan B.League resumed hostilities this weekend after a 13-day break that was supposed to be devoted to last week’s All-Star games. The All-Star festivities were eventually canceled due to COVID-related health protocols.

The B.League continued to reel from the effects of the pandemic as eight games scheduled on the weekend of January 22 to 23 were postponed, including the back-to-back encounter between the Shiga Lakestars and the San-En NeoPhoenix.

It was a slow weekend for Filipino imports as, aside from the Ravena brothers, Javi Gomez de Liaño was also missing in action due to an ankle injury.

Quiet showing by Parks, but Nagoya continues to ascend

The Nagoya Diamond Dolphins entered the All-Star break tied for the second-best record in the West District. They are coming out of this weekend with a 20-8 record for solo second in the West, just behind the league-leading Ryukyu Golden Kings.

Nagoya showed why it is one of the elite teams right now in the entire B.League as it dominated the two games it played against the Levanga Hokkaido. 

Bobby Ray Parks Jr., who was the team’s third-leading scorer with an average of 11.6 points, had a forgettable shooting afternoon on Saturday, January 22, as he missed all 5 attempts from the field and dealt with foul trouble. He ended up with just 1 point, although he did manage to snare 5 rebounds and dish out 2 assists in just 19 minutes of action. The Diamond Dolphins, fortunately, did not need huge numbers from him as they blasted Hokkaido, 90-60.

The rematch on Sunday, January 23 was not a blowout, but Nagoya still led from start to finish to win 89-77. Parks ended up with just 4 points – the third straight game he was unable to score in double figures. 

Nagoya will be needing more production from Parks as they enter a tough stretch this week. The Diamond Dolphins will face on Wednesday, January 26, the Alvark Tokyo, which at 21-7 is a game ahead of Nagoya in the overall standings. Nagoya will then have back-to-back games on the last weekend of January against the Utsonomiya Brex, which has a 17-9 record.

Toyama ekes out one over Mikawa

Before the All-Star break, the Toyama Grouses earned its first win over a top 10 team when it defeated the Hiroshima Dragonflies. All of Toyama’s previous victories came against teams with losing records.

The Grouses earned another win on Saturday against a squad with a winning record when it defeated the Seahorses Mikawa, 93-87. Dwight Ramos was on the floor for just a little over 19 minutes and had limited touches as he converted 2 of his 4 attempts to finish with 5 points in a tight contest. The Seahorses led most of the way until Joshua Smith, Nauki Uto, and Julian Mavunga powered Toyama with crucial baskets in the clutch.

Ramos was more active on offense on Sunday as he wound up with 8 points in 17 minutes of play. He sank all 3 of his attempts from 2 but missed all 3 of his tries from the three-point area. Despite better production from Ramos, the Grouses could not repeat over the Seahorses on Sunday. Toyama was down by just a point at the end of the third quarter but could not overcome Mikawa’s determined stand as the Grouses dropped a tight one, 70-76.

Ramos and the Grouses will try to improve their 11-19 record when they face the Shiga Lakestars on Wednesday, and the Hiroshima Dragonflies twice over the weekend.

Niigata sinks further as Paras fires blank

Just when one thought Kobe Paras had already broken out of the rut after two straight decent showings before the All-Star break, he slumped right back to lethargic outings over the weekend.

Paras missed all 5 attempts from the field in 21 minutes of action as the Niigata Albirex went down to the Shinshu Brave Warriors, 64-76. Paras, however, did contribute 3 steals, 2 rebounds, and 1 assist.

The next day’s game was even worse for Paras and Niigata. They were blown out by 30 points by the Brave Warriors, 59-89. Paras could not convert any of his 4 field goal attempts and registered just 1 assist and 1 foul in his 13 minutes on the floor. Matthew Aquino saw action for the Brave Warriors and had 2 points and a block.

The Niigata Albirex have now lost 25 straight games and remain in last place in the entire B.League. – Rappler.com