Despite missing the services of Javi Gomez de Liaño, the Ibaraki Robots carved out a breakthrough 95-79 win at the expense of Thirdy Ravena and the San-En NeoPhoenix in the 2021/22 Japan B. League at the Kamisu Disaster Prevention Arena on Saturday (23 October)
The Robots barely felt the absence of Gomez de Liaño as Eric Jacobsen led the way with a game-high 28 points and 14 rebounds in a double-double performance that gave his side a first victory in seven matches.
Ibaraki seized control right from the get go, but the NeoPhoenix trailed close behind and stayed within striking distance until Jacobsen took over down the stretch and widened the lead by as much as 16, 89-73, with less then two minutes remaining.
Marc Trasolini also shouldered some of the offensive load with 17 points, to go with seven rebounds and two assists, while Chehales Tapscott supplied a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double for the Robots.
San-En, on the other hand, suffered their third consecutive loss to fall to a 2-5 hole.
Ravena finished with 14 points, three assists and two rebounds as Elias Harris spearheaded the NeoPhoenix with 21 points and 12 rebounds in a deflating loss.
Both teams will face off once more on Sunday.
Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.