Javi Gomez de Liaño had a game to remember in a losing effort as the visiting Kawasaki Brave Thunders blasted the Ibaraki Robots with a late 9-0 rally for a 105-96 win in the Japan B. League on Saturday, November 13.
After a few games with minimal to no playing time, the Gilas Pilipinas prospect thrived in a 23-minute run off the bench as he reset his career-highs with 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting and 3-of-7 from three, on top of 5 rebounds.
However, the rookie pro baller’s efforts were simply no match for the superstar veteran presence of two-time B. League champion Nick Fazekas, who erupted for a 30-point, 16-rebound double-double on a 12-of-12 clip in just 30 minutes.
As expected, the former PBA import was on point in the clutch as he recorded his only steal of the game off a poor Ibaraki pass that resulted in an easy fastbreak layup, and a 101-96 lead with 39 ticks left.
The Robots had three chances off their final timeout, but all their rushed shots clanked off, and basically secured the win and a 10-3 record for the Brave Thunders.
Four Ibaraki players including Gomez de Liaño scored in double-digits in the tough loss, led by imports Eric Jacobsen and Marc Trasolini, who tallied 20 and 19 points, respectively.
The Robots can leave the cellar momentarily, and improve their 2-11 record, with an upset win in the Sunday, November 14 rematch at 4:05 pm.
Juan GDL’s Tokyo Z still winless
While Javi Gomez de Liaño had the best game of his young pro career, the same could not be said for his younger brother Juan as the Koshigaya Alphas outgunned the winless Earthfriends Tokyo Z, 91-80, in the B. League Division 2.
Despite having a more consistent role recently, the younger Gomez de Liaño posted a 2-point dud on just 1-of-7 shooting, albeit with 6 assists, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block, and no turnovers as the Earthfriends plummeted to a 0-12 record.
Meanwhile, the Alphas neared the peak of the East District off the win for a 9-3 record, all thanks to a perfect shooting game from import Isaac Butts, who churned out a 25-point, 15-rebound double-double on a sterling 12-of-12 clip.
After the Earthfriends hustled to keep the game tied at 70 with 7:32 left in the fourth quarter, the Alphas quickly denied Tokyo another shot for a breakthrough win with a massive 16-2 run at the 4:03 mark, ending with a pair of cold-blooded threes from Tomoya Hasegawa.
Two late triples from import Mark Burton made no difference for the Earthfriends as they ultimately fell short once again.
Reinforcement Marc Norelia led a balanced scoring effort in the loss with 16 points and 7 rebounds, backstopped with 15 and 13 markers from Burton and Joshua Crawford, respectively.
Tokyo now aims for a much-needed reversal of fortunes in the Sunday rematch at 2 pm.
Cariño, Aomori absorb 37-point beatdown
Just like the Earthfriends, the struggles continued for Kemark Cariño and the Aomori Wat’s as they suffered a 101-64 loss to the top-ranked Fighting Eagles Nagoya at the Maeda Arena in another Division 2 match.
The Gilas Pilipinas prospect scattered 1 point, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, and 1 block in a career-high 20 minutes of action for the Wat’s, who dropped to 1-11 in the standings, just above Tokyo in the seven-team East District.
Cariño will look to put on a much better showing when the Wat’s seek an upset against the Fighting Eagles in the Sunday rematch at 1 pm. – with a report from Martin Mendoza/Rappler.com