MANILA, Philippines – After a three-week break, the Japan B. League resumed play this past weekend as five Filipino imports took the floor in Division 1 action.
All five players, unfortunately, went up against top caliber opposition that had winning records and occupied spots in the upper half of the standings. The results were more of the same for the Filipino imports and their respective squads.
Parks and Nagoya pass tests
The Nagoya Diamond Dolphins have gone through a tough stretch which saw them go up against top 10 teams in their last five games. The Diamond Dolphins won three out of those five games, earning a split this weekend against the Shimane Susanoo Magic which is tied for fifth in the overall team standings.
Bobby Ray Parks Jr., coming off his best game in Japan just before the B. League gave way to the FIBA Asia World Cup qualifiers, sustained his splendid form as he once again led Nagoya in offense with 20 points, including 10 in the third quarter, as the Diamond Dolphins scored an 82-73 victory over Shimane last Saturday, December 4. Parks hit a 46.7% clip from the floor and hauled down 4 boards in less than 24 minutes on the floor.
Nagoya, however, could not repeat the following day against Shimane and lost a close one, 94-86. Parks still played well with 13 points, 2 rebounds, and 3 assists.
After a slow start to the season, Diamond Dolphins have now cracked the top 10 of the standings as they find themselves tied for ninth place. The team’s performance is somewhat mirrored by Parks’ own showing. Take out his first two games where he played sparingly as he was coming off an injury, Parks is norming 13.33 points in his last 12 games which makes him the top scorer among all Filipino imports in the B. League.
Toyama’s streak comes to a grinding halt
After chalking up three straight wins, the Toyama Grouses were sent crashing back to earth by former PBA import Allen Durham and the league-leading Ryukyu Golden Kings. Both games were not even close as the Golden Kings triumphed in runaway fashion.
Dwight Ramos struggled mightily against Ryukyu’s unrelenting defense. Prior to this weekend, Ramos was a picture of efficiency as he converted at least 50% from the field in each of his last seven games.
Against Ryukyu last Saturday, Ramos scored 6 points on just 3-of-9 attempts as he and the rest of the team could not seem to find the basket in a 91-66 loss where they put up their second-lowest offensive output for the season.
The following day was no better for the Gilas Pilipinas stalwart. Although he dropped 14 points, his shooting was an atrocious 28% from the field, including 1-of-4 from the three-point area. He also turned the ball over four times as the Grouses once again suffered another loss, 80-69.
Ramos and the Grouses will try to get back on the winning track when they face the Shiga Lakestars and Kiefer Ravena next weekend.
Kiefer Ravena loops roller-coaster showing
Kiefer Ravena has strung together two clusters of games where he failed to produce in double figures in three straight games. The first one happened during a three-game stretch in the middle of October.
The second one culminated on Sunday as Ravena played what was hands down his most unimpressive outing in the B. League.
The Shiga Lakestars were clobbered mercilessly by the Shibuya Sun Rockers, 102-75, in a game that was practically over in the third quarter. Shiga’s anemic performance was reflected in Ravena’s own woes as the Phenom scored just 4 points on 1-of-8 shooting, tying his lowest output in a Lakestar uniform.
Counting the two games prior to their Sunday encounter versus Shibuya, Ravena was averaging a mere 5 points on a 21% shooting clip.
Ravena broke out of his slump on Monday as he regained his stroke and poured in 13 points on 37.5% shooting. He also rekindled his playmaking ways as he dished out 6 assists. His efforts, however, were not enough to prevent the Lakestars from spiraling to their eighth straight defeat, 95-82.
Despite his recent struggles, the Phenom is still norming 11.5 points in 16 games. He is 10th in the league in assists with his average of 5.2 dimes per outing.
Kobe, Javi share bottom rungs
Speaking of downward spiral, the term may as well be used to describe the Niigata Albirex and Kobe Paras.
In Saturday’s loss, Paras scored 9 points but attempted only nine times from the floor. The following day, Paras attempted just seven times and missed all five tries from three. He wound up with just 5 points. In both outings, Paras failed to notch a single rebound.
Paras has scored in double-digits just twice in the last 10 games. The Niagata Albirex has now dropped its last 13 games.
Keeping Niigata company at the bottom of the standings are the Ibaraki Robots.
Javi Gomez de Liaño and the Ibaraki Robots had the unenviable task of facing the defending champion Chiba Jets twice this weekend. In both games, the Robots kept pace with the Jets only for Ibaraki to falter in the end game.
The former UP Maroon logged just three minutes of action in their thin 83-77 defeat to Chiba last Saturday. He missed his only attempt from three and ended up scoreless, the second straight game he failed to log a point.
Gomez de Liaño played longer on Sunday as he was on the floor for close to 13 minutes. He scored all 4 of his points from the free throw line as the Robots again succumbed to the Jets, 111-103.
Both the Niagata Albirex and the Ibaraki Robots have just two wins to show in 16 games. – Rappler.com