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Emperor’s Cup: Dwight’s Hokkaido boots out Kobe’s Chiba; Aquino tows Shinshu to next round

A pair of Gilas Pilipinas stalwarts went up against each other in the Emperor’s Cup on Sunday, while Matthew Aquino continued to impress to help Shinshu advance to the next round of the competition.

Dwight Ramos and Hokkaido debuted with a 96-68 blowout over Kobe Paras and Chiba at Wind Hill Kushiro Super Arena.

Chiba was coming off a 28-point thrashing of Yamagata the previous day, and their legs betrayed them against Hokkaido which had their guns blazing from the get-go which saw Levanga race to an imposing 27-10 advantage at the end of the first quarter.

Ramos and Paras both had solid contributions to their respective squads. Ramos had nine points and two boards while Paras did better than his scoreless performance on Saturday by producing seven points on a 50-percent shooting clip while also adding four rebounds and four assists.

Meanwhile, Matthew Aquino sustained his fine play in the All-Japan tournament to help Shinshu down FE Nagoya, 71-68, at White Ring.

Trailing by a solitary point at the half, the Brave Warriors turned things around with a strong third quarter to retake the lead which they held on to until the last quarter.

A day after an eight-point showing, the 6-foot-9 Aquino went 3-of-5 from three-point range to finish with nine points to figure prominently in Shinsu’s balanced attack which had only two players, power forward Takuya Sato with 14 and import Josh Hawkinson with 13, scoring in double figures.

San-En did not have much need for Thirdy Ravena who only played a little over two minutes in their 84-53 win against Shibuya at Hayami Park Physical Education Cultural Center.

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San-En, the surprise team thus far in B1 with a 6-3 record which is just a game behind the league leaders, took the fight out of Shibuya as the NeoPhoenix zoomed to a 52-16 lead at the end of the first half.

Nagoya escaped with an 89-85 squeaker over Hiroshima as the Diamond Dolphins also booked a seat in the next round of the Emperor’s Cup at Wind Hill Kushiro Super Arena.

Both Ray Parks of the Diamond Dolphins and Justine Baltazar of the Dragonflies did not see action in their encounter.

Fukuoka could not follow up on their Saturday triumph as they also fell to Ibaraki, 62-74, also at the Kushiro venue.

Greg Slaughter, who played sparingly for Fukuoka in their win over Nara and had just two points and one rebound, was not fielded in against Ibaraki.

Ramos and Levanga will be back on the floor on Monday when they face perennial Division 1 powerhouse Chiba which finished runner-up in the previous edition of the Emperor’s Cup.

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