Kobe Paras and the Niigata Albirex BB bowed out of the 97th Emperor's Cup after falling to the Hiroshima Dragonflies in a 102-105 overtime thriller at the Kishiwada City Gymnasium on Sunday (31 October).
Paras churned out a 21-point effort built on four triples while dishing out two assists and a steal, but his efforts were not enough to thwart the late-game heroics of Ryo Terashima.
Staring at a two-point deficit in the waning moments of overtime, Paras hauled down a crucial offensive rebound and converted it to tie the count at 102-all with 3.1 seconds left.
However, Terashima, who finished with 18 points and six assists, came through in the end as he knocked down a stunning three-pointer that sent Niigata crashing out.
It was a heartbreaking exit for Albirex as three players breached the 20-point threshold, with Rosco Allen leading the charge with 28 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists, and four steals in the losing effort. Kimitake Sato also delivered the goods with 28 points, 12 of which coming from three-point territory.
On the other hand, Charles Jackson posted a double-double of 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Dragonflies, who will next face Matthew Aquino and the Shinshu Brave Warriors.
Aquino played sparingly but his presence was hardly needed by Shinshu as they leaned on Yudai Okata in a 90-80 victory over Bobby Ray Parks and the Nagoya Diamond Dolphins at the same venue
Okada unloaded 29 points, eight rebounds, five assists, and four steals for the Brave Warriors, who used a strong finish to boot Nagoya out of contention.
Parks managed only two points, two assists and three steals, as the Diamond Dolphins were spearheaded by Coty Clarke who tallied a double-double of 21 points and 11 rebounds that went for naught.
The Ravena brothers advanced into the next round, as Kiefer Ravena steered Shiga Lakestars through while Thirdy Ravena helped San-En stay alive in the All Japan Basketball Championship tournament.
Kiefer and the Lakestars turned back the upset-conscious Rizing Zephyr Fukuoka, 91-82, at the Arena Tachikawa Tachihi in Tokyo.
The elder Ravena banked on his seasoned playmaking nous, flirting with a double-double of 12 points and nine assists while picking up two rebounds and a steal.
He also came up big at the critical juncture of the match as he orchestrated a series of crucial plays that allowed Sean O'Mara and Novar Gadson to douse the fire out of Fukuoka.
O'Mara carried the cudgels for Shiga with an all-around line of 29 points, 13 boards, five dimes, and two blocks while Gadson chipped in 14 points.
On the other hand, Thirdy Ravenna found his prolific form as the NeoPhoenix blew past the Koshigaya Alphas with a convincing 90-76 victory.
The younger Ravena made his presence felt all over the court with 15 points, five assists, three rebounds and a steal as San-En strung up a strong opening half to close out the match with a 14-point lead.
Justin Knox carried the bulk of the offense for the winning side as he put up 24 points, six rebounds and one steal.
Meanwhile, Dwight Ramos went cold but Toyama managed to hold off the Shimane Susanoo Magic and emerge victorious, 81-77, at the Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center.
Ramos struggled from the field, scoring three points on 1-of-7 shooting. He tried to impact the game on other areas as he produced three assists, two blocks and a steal for the Grouses, who relied on the herculean effort of Joshua Smith.
Smith finished with 35 points while imposing dominance on the glass with 19 rebounds. Julian Mavunga complimented him well with 21 points, 12 dimes and six boards.
Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.