Dwight Ramos and the Toyama Grouses dealt the Thirdy Ravena-led San-En NeoPhoenix a heartbreaking loss, as they eked out a 90-89 win in the 2021-22 Japan B. League at the Toyama City Gymnasium on Sunday (14 November).
Ramos delivered a double-double performance of 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Grouses, who leaned on the late-game heroics of Keijuro Matsui to elevate their win-loss record to 4-10.
Clinging on an 88-85 lead inside the final minute, Toyama tried to seal the game, but Ravena had other ideas as he drained a clutch three-pointer to tie the score.
With the game hung on the balance, Matsui took matters in his own hands, knocking down the go-ahead jumper off an inbound pass as time dwindled down to 0.5 seconds.
Still, there was hope for San-En after Ravena managed to fish a foul in the ensuing possession for a chance to send the match into overtime. However, the Filipino stalwart failed to convert one of his two free throws, allowing Toyama to escape with the victory.
Ravena poured out a game-high 26 points, nine rebounds, five assists and three steals in a spirited effort that went for naught as San-En absorbed its sixth straight loss to drop to a 3-11 slate.
The Grouses, on the other hand, stretched their winning streak to three.
Joshua Smith spearheaded Toyama with a double-double line of 19 points and 11 boards, while Julian Mavunga also had an all-around production of 12 points, 11 assists and five rebounds.
Ramos and the Grouses shall return to action on 4 December to take on the Ryukyu Golden Kings. Meanwhile, Ravena and the NeoPheonix shall face the Sea Horses Mikawa on the same date.
Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.