Kobe Paras and the Niigata Albirex BB bounced back from their season-opening loss with a rousing 76-75 victory over the Kyoto Hannaryz in the Japan B. League on Sunday, October 3 at the City Hall Plaza Aore Nagaoka.
After exploding for a team-high 25 points on Saturday, the Asian import Paras struggled to find his rhythm early in the game, but still finished with 10 points on 5-of-14 shooting and 2 rebounds for Niigata in 27 minutes of action.
With Niigata trailing by 5 points, 68-73, with only three minutes remaining in the fourth period, Paras hit a turnaround jumper to pull them back within a single possession, 70-73.
Kyoto’s David Simon managed to put the lead back up to 5, 75-70, with 1:43 left to play, but Paras once again delivered with a crucial layup to trim the deficit back to 3, 75-72.
Paras then missed on a potential game-tying three-point attempt with 57 seconds remaining, but luckily for the Albirex BB, Tshilidzi Nephawe was there to clean up the miss and cut the lead to just 1, 75-74.
Simon and Kazuki Hosokawa had two chances to stretch Kyoto’s advantage once again. But their missed shots led to a defensive rebound by Paras and a jumper by Yuto Nohmi with only three seconds left, which turned out to be the eventual game-winner for Niigata as Simon failed to convert his jump shot at the buzzer.
Rosco Allen and Nohmi had 16 points apiece for Niigata in the victory, while Zen Endo and Jeff Ayres contributed 10 markers each.
Simon topscored anew for Kyoto with 21 points to go with 8 rebounds and 5 assists, while Hosokawa and Justin Harper chipped in 15 and 14 points, respectively.
Paras and the rest of the Albirex BB will look to make it two in a row when they face Thirdy Ravena and the San-En NeoPhoenix on Saturday, October 9 at 5:05 pm, Manila time.
Niigata 76 – Allen 16, Nohmi 16, Paras 10, Endo 10, Ayres 10, Nephawe 6, Watanuki 4, Okamoto 3, Ikeda 1.
Kyoto 75 – Simon 21, Hosokawa 15, Harper 14, Kubota 11, Mitsuda 6, Smith 4, Suzuki 2, Aita 2, Nagayoshi 0.
Quarters: 17-19, 32-35, 56-57, 76-75.