Kobe Paras prevailed over Thirdy Ravena as Niigata Albirex BB fended off a tough challenge from San-En NeoPhoenix, 77-64, in the Japan B.League at the Hamamatsu Arena on Saturday (9 October).
In a battle between former collegiate rivals, Paras dropped 21 points, five rebounds and three assists in a rousing win over his longtime friend Ravena, who led his side with 16 points, four assists, two rebounds and two steals in a lost cause.
The 6-foot-6 Paras, who connected on four triples in the match, punctuated the win with a crowd-igniting, one-handed slam late in the fourth period, helping Albirex BB preserve a commanding double-digit cushion to seal the deal.
Niigata, which began the season with a defeat a week ago, have rebounded with their second consecutive win, and dealt San-En their second loss in as many games.
As productive as Paras was all game long, Rosco Allen still emerged as the anchor of Niigata as the Hungarian reinforcement put up 23 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
Also proving instrumental for Niigata was Tshilidzi Nephawe, who delivered the goods with 13 points, nine rebounds, two steals and two blocks, while Jeff Ayres made his presence felt as well with his 11-point, seven-board outing.
On the other hand, the NeoPhoenix, who fought back from a slow start before losing steam at the end, not only received contributions from Ravena but also from Robert Carter and Elias Harris.
Carter finished with 12 points, six rebounds, and three assists, while Harris ended the match with 11 points, seven boards and two dimes.
Paras and Ravena will face off once more when Niigata clash with San-En anew 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.