Joshua Smith gave Dwight Ramos a tight hug after Toyama’s game against Osaka, Wednesday evening.
It was a well-deserved hug as it was the sweetest of victories for the Grouses who have struggled in their first eight games.
“We finally got our first win.
We’re hoping that we can keep building on it and keep on improving,” said the 6-foot-5 Filipino-American, who missed the first four games of Toyama, after their 82-67 win.
Before the arrival of Ramos, the Grouses struggled to put up buckets, averaging just 66.0 points during their first four games. It included an embarrassing 41-point total against Shinshu during the second day of the season.
Of course, Ramos and Toyama struggled in their first two games together. But in Week Four, the Grouses gave Ryukyu a scare twice.
Slowly, the team that also has Smith, Julian Mavunga, Kevin Hareyama, and Bryce Johnson is starting to click.
And on Wednesday, it finally came with Ramos leading the way.
The Ateneo product fired nine points in a strong opening quarter outing by the Grouses.
When Evessa went creeping in, cutting a once double-digit lead down to four with 3:35 left, Toyama did not falter, firing a finishing 11-0 run to nab win no. 1.
“I think we played good defense and we’re starting to roll together as a team. We’re finding what we do good together,” said Ramos, who tallied 20 points on an 8-of-14 clip from the field, six rebounds, three assists, and a steal.
Now, the grind will begin for Ramos and the Grouses.
On Saturday, Toyama opens its Emperor’s Cup campaign against Aomori at Hokkai Kitayaru. The winner of that match faces the victor of the Shimane-Ehime game on Sunday.
Then on November 6 and 7, they head to Kawasaki City Todoroki Arena to take on the Brave Thunders before going to Kyoto for their game against the Hannaryz on Wednesday.
“This will be the first road game for me,” expressed the 23-year-old. “I’m excited to get over there, see a new city, and we’re gonna keep practicing.
“We’re going to get back to practice and hopefully we can get on a winning streak instead of a losing streak.”