MANILA, Philippines – One of Kobe Paras’ best games in the Japan B. League went to waste as the Akita Northern Happinets hung on to win at home, 71-67, over the hapless Niigata Albirex BB on Sunday, March 6.
The high-flying import flexed his shooting stroke in Niigata’s comeback effort, as he dropped 11 of his game-high 17 points in the fourth quarter alone.
Paras also finished with a 5-of-8 clip from downtown, three of which kick-started a pivotal 18-6 run that turned a 45-59 deficit to just two, 63-65, with 3:25 left in regulation.
However, the contending Happinets stayed composed, and ultimately dictated the tempo of the endgame as Colton Iverson scored his team’s last six points mostly off clutch free-throws.
With the win, the Happinets rose to a 22-12 record for fifth place in the East District, while the Albirex slid down to a 5-31 slate, still in the cellar of the 22-team league.
Shigehiro Taguchi led the victory with 15 points, all off threes. Iverson chipped in 11 markers and 9 rebounds, while Tshilidzi Nephawe backstopped Paras in the loss with 12 points and a game-high 13 boards.
The Albirex’s quest for win No. 6 continues to be a difficult one as they next face the mighty Alvark Tokyo, holders of a 24-8 record, on Wednesday, March 9, 6:05 pm Manila time.
Speaking of mighty teams, the league-leading Ryukyu Golden Kings raised their winning streak to 19 straight games off a weekend sweep of the Shiga Lakestars, 82-73.
Kiefer Ravena powered the Lakestars bench as usual with 14 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists, but his performance was just not enough to stop the team from falling to a 10-21 record. Meanwhile, the Kings continued their reign on top with a 28-3 slate.
Shiga kept the game exciting for its home fans until deep in the fourth quarter, where Ryukyu led by just 4, 75-71, at the 1:15 mark of regulation.
However, the breaks of the game went the Kings’ way as a clutch Koh Flippin fadeaway with 58 ticks left was shortly followed by a crucial turnover by Lakestars captain Teppei Kashiwagura.
Not even a late Ravena shot at the 30-second mark was enough as Dwayne Evans responded with four straight points to seal the deal. He led all scorers in the win with 23 points, while Jack Cooley chipped in 19 markers in 20 minutes off the bench.
Longtime PBA import Allen Durham cruised to an easy 13-point, 8-rebound, 4-assist line in 26 minutes for the Kings, while Sean O’mara paced the Lakestars’ loss with a 19-marker, 13-board double-double.
Shiga hopes to end its three-game slide on Wednesday, 6:05 pm, against another league powerhouse, the 26-10 Kawasaki Brave Thunders.
Javi Gomez de Liaño, Ibaraki notch rare win as other teams await Pinoys’ return
Onto a winning note this time, the Ibaraki Robots had themselves a fun road win as they blasted fellow cellar-dweller Kyoto Hannaryz, 96-70.
Javi Gomez de Liaño even saw limited action in the blowout, but he finished with 2 fouls, and no other stats in less than 5 minutes off the bench.
Perhaps the Gilas Pilipinas prospect can earn more playing time on Wednesday as Ibaraki faces the Seahorses Mikawa at 6:05 pm.
Finally, over in Division 2, Kemark Carino fouled out for the second straight day as the Ehime Orange Vikings sent Carino’s Aomori Wat’s to their 20th straight loss off a 92-70 rout.
Unlike the game on Saturday, March 5, where he only fouled out with no stats, the former San Beda project big man at least got 2 points and 2 rebounds before his fifth foul at the 3:46 mark of the third quarter.
Aomori will try to improve its putrid 2-36 record next Saturday, March 12, 5 pm, against the Kumamoto Volters.
Meanwhile, Ray Parks, Thirdy Ravena, Dwight Ramos, and Matt Aquino are all expected to return on Wednesday, assuming their respective quarantine periods come to an end by then.
Ravena’s San-En NeoPhoenix and Parks’ Nagoya Diamond Dolphins will square up, while Ramos’ Toyama Grouses face the Osaka Evessa and Aquino’s Shinshu Brave Warriors battle the Levanga Hokkaido.
As is the case with most B. League Wednesday schedules, their respective games will also all start at 6:05 pm. – Rappler.com