Japan B. League

Sotto shines as Hiroshima survives Wright, Kyoto

Martin Mendoza

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Sotto shines as Hiroshima survives Wright, Kyoto

STELLAR. Filipino imports Matthew Wright (left) and Kai Sotto deliver impressive individual performances.


Kai Sotto puts on a show in only his second game for Hiroshima as they spoil Matthew Wright’s 26-point explosion for Kyoto, while Carl Tamayo debuts for Ryukyu versus the Ray Parks-less Nagoya

MANILA, Philippines – Kai Sotto picked up his first win with the Hiroshima Dragonflies in the Japan B. League after holding off a late surge by Matthew Wright and the Kyoto Hannaryz, 102-95, on Wednesday, March 15 at the Hiroshima Sun Plaza Hall.

In only his second game in a Dragonflies uniform, the 7-foot-3 Sotto put on a show for the home crowd as he dropped a team-best 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting, 8 rebounds, and 1 steal.

Sotto and the Dragonflies spoiled the red-hot shooting night of Wright, who shot a terrific 7-of-9 clip from beyond the arc for a game-high 26 markers.

Like his fellow Filipino import Sotto, the former Phoenix Fuel Masters gunner Wright flirted with a double-double as he dished out 8 assists, together with 2 rebounds and 2 steals. 

“I think the whole team played well. Credit to the coaching staff and all my teammates, we all did a great job and I’m just happy we had the win in this home game,” said Sotto.

With Hannaryz trailing by 13 points at the start of the final frame, 64-77, Wright cashed in two of his seven long bombs in the first 3 minutes of the payoff period to help Kyoto cut Hiroshima’s lead to just a two-possession affair, 81-75.

Kyoto then managed to tie the game at 95-all with only 1:37 remaining, but Hiroshima’s Naoto Tsuji quickly answered with a cold-blooded triple in the next possession to put the Dragonflies back in the driver’s seat.

The Hannaryz had several opportunities to keep in step with the Dragonflies in the endgame, but Kyoto guard Jarred Uthoff, who shot an ice-cold 1-of-11 clip from deep, missed three crucial treys in the final minute as Hiroshima secured the victory.

Aside from Sotto, five more players scored in double figures for the well-balanced Dragonflies. Kerry Blackshear Jr. put up 17 points, Ryo Terashima and Nick Mayo added 16 points each, while Tsuji and Dwayne Evans II contributed 13 and 11, respectively. 

Former NBA big man Check Diallo helped Wright carry Kyoto’s scoring cudgels with 21 points, to go along with his 10 rebounds.

Hiroshima snapped its two-game skid and hiked its record to 29-11, while Kyoto moved down to a 16-24 slate.

Over at the Okinawa Arena, Carl Tamayo finally made his on-court debut for the Ryukyu Golden Kings in their 79-74 win over the Ray Parks-less Nagoya Diamond Dolphins.

After riding the bench in Ryukyu’s previous win over Hiroshima, Tamayo recorded 5 points on 2-of-4 shooting, 1 rebound, and 1 steal, but the former UP Fighting Maroons star also tallied 2 turnovers and finished with a +/- of -4 in 9 minutes and 29 seconds of action. 

With its eighth straight win, Ryukyu improved further its record to 31-9 as Nagoya fell to 27-13. 

Other results

Sunrockers Shibuya def. San-En NeoPhoenix, 81-78. (Thirdy Ravena – 10 points, 2-of-10 field goal, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal, 31:55 minutes.)

Chiba Jets def. Levanga Hokkaido, 94-80. (Dwight Ramos – 8 points, 3-of-7 field goal, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 22:04 minutes.)

Shinshu Brave Warriors def. Toyama Grouses, 80-66. (Matt Aquino – 3 points, 1-of-1 field goal, 3 rebounds, 10:13 minutes.)

Osaka Evessa def. Shiga Lakes, 101-71. (Kiefer Ravena 0 points, 0-of-8 field goal, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 25:35 minutes.)

– Rappler.com 

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