Japan B. League

Juan GDL finds consistent role with winless Tokyo as Javi gets benched

JR Isaga
Juan GDL finds consistent role with winless Tokyo as Javi gets benched

KEY COG. Juan Gomez de Liaño scores in double-digits in back-to-back games.

JAPAN B. LEAGUE

Juan Gomez de Liaño continues to find his niche with Tokyo Z for another double-digit tally, while his brother Javi rides the bench in Ibaraki’s latest win

The Earthfriends Tokyo Z continue their search for a breakthrough win in the Japan B. League Division 2 as the Fukushima Firebonds swept the weekend with a 77-73 win on Sunday, November 7.

With the win, the Firebonds blazed up to a 6-4 record while the Earthfriends crumbled down to 0-10 for the season.

Fukushima top import Jason Washburn led the way with 21 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds, and 2 blocks in just 28 minutes while fellow reinforcement Erik Murphy added 17 markers, 8 boards, and 3 dimes off the bench.

Despite the ongoing skid, Tokyo import Juan Gomez de Liaño seemed to have found a consistent spot in the rotation as he finished with 13 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assist in 25 minutes, marking the first time he had back-to-back games in double-digit scoring and 20-plus minutes.

After looking dead in the water with a 14-point deficit, 47-61, to start the fourth quarter, Tokyo found new life as they mounted a 17-5 attack capped by a Tsubasa Kurihara triple to inch within two, 64-66, at the midway mark of the frame.

Gomez de Liano tried his best with two clutch buckets in the final three minutes to keep the game winnable for the Earthfriends, but the breaks of the game simply went the Firebonds’ way as a Shota Kanno layup with 14 ticks left all but sealed the deal, 77-71.

Tokyo import Joshua Crawford saw his monster 26-point, 17-rebound double-double go to waste in the loss, while fellow reinforcement Marc Norelia backstopped him with 16 markers and 11 boards.

The Earthfriends’ quest for their first win will continue on Wednesday, November 10, 6 pm, Manila time, as they face the Nishinomiya Storks.

As Juan Gomez de Liaño continues to find his niche with his team, his older brother Javi, on the other hand, still has a ways to go after he failed to leave the bench in the Ibaraki Robots’ 81-72 win over the Osaka Evessa in Division 1 action.

Whether the benching was injury-related or just a plain coach’s decision is unclear, however, as the Gilas Pilipinas prospect already made his debut last Saturday, November 6, and had 3 points in 13 minutes off the bench.

The elder Gomez de Liaño will have another chance to crack the Ibaraki rotation on Wednesday, 6:05 pm, as the 2-9 Robots look to start a much-needed winning streak against the Sun Rockers Shibuya. – Rappler.com