Thirdy Ravena and San-En NeoPhoenix continued their resurgence, escaping Niigata Albirex BB in the 2020-21 B.League Season, 85-81, Saturday at Toyohashi City Gymnasium.
Clinging to an 83-81 lead with 19 seconds left, Ravena got switched on Allen Durham. Despite giving up much height and weight, the 6-foot-2 Asian import did not back down against the multi-time PBA Best Import, completely denying him at the post.
This resulted in Jason Washburn throwing an off-balance three that missed. Though Kei Igarashi was able to secure the board, he was called for an offensive foul after extending his foot at Stevan Jerovatu.
Jerovatu knocked down the two freebies awarded to him to lift San-En to its third straight win.
“I’ll be promising that we are starting to play better. We are getting better and better,” said San-En head coach Branislav Vicentic.
Ravena, who missed the majority of the final frame, had 11 points, two rebounds, and one assist for NeoPhoenix, who were able to hike its record to 5-17.
San-En had a strong start, leading 30-17 in the opening frame and 66-54 entering the final frame.
Washburn and Teppei Kashiwagura though sparked a 15-0 spurt to gain a 69-68 lead midway through the last quarter.
Knotted at 81-all, Kyle Hunt knocked down the go-ahead bucket with 26 ticks left.
Hunt had 17 points and 12 rebounds while Jerovatu added 13 markers and 11 boards. Takanobu Nishikawa had a good game as well with 12 points.
Durham led the way for Niigata with 14 points, nine rebounds, and five assists while Igarashi chipped in 12 markers.
Albirex BB dropped to 6-16 in the East District.
The two squads face off again on Sunday at 12:00nn (Manila time.