Kobe Paras’ fourth quarter surge came too little, too late for Niigata, who lost to Akita, 67-71, in the 2021-22 B.League season, Sunday at Noshiro City Gymnasium.
Down by as much as 16 points in the contest and 57-45 heading into the final frame, Paras caught fire, scoring 11 points in a 15-8 rally to cut the lead down to five with 4:44 remaining.
The surge continued after Yuto Nohmi scored three more points to slice the lead down to two, 65-63.
However, Colton Iverson scored on an and-one on the other end to stop the Happinets’ bleeding. Iverson would then respond to every Albirex bucket to avert an upset.
Iverson ended up with 11 points and nine rebounds.
Leading the way for the Happinets — who went up to 22-12 in the standings, was Shigehiro Taguchi with 15 points.
Paras led the way for Niigata with 17 points, three rebounds, and two steals. This is the UP products’ best outing since dropping 18 points last October 17.
Tshilidzi Nephawe added 12 points and 13 rebounds for Albirex, who fell to 5-31 in the standings.
Niigata will next face Tokyo on Wednesday at City Hall Plaza Aore.
Over at Toyohashi City Gymnasium, San-En went down to a league-worst 5-30 record after bowing to Tokyo (25-8), 59-90.
Thirdy Ravena was in attendance but did not play in the game as he had just cleared quarantine.