Ravena brothers bid Emperor's Cup farewell as San-En, Shiga fall

·Contributor
·3 min read
Thirdy Ravena of San-En NeoPhoenix. (Photo: B. League/Instagram)
Thirdy Ravena of San-En NeoPhoenix. (Photo: B. League/Instagram)

The Ravena brothers bade farewell to their 97th Emperor's Cup title hopes on Monday (1 November). 

Thirdy Ravena bowed out of contention first, as the San-En NeoPhoenix suffered a shock 71-95 defeat by second division team Kagawa Five Arrows at the Arena Tachikawa Tachihi. 

The younger Ravena struggled from the field as he finished with seven points on a dismal 3-of-14 shooting. He also had seven rebounds and two assists for the NeoPhoenix, who could not contain the hot-handed Rhys Vague of the Five Arrows.  

Vague shot the lights out and drained a game-high 26 points built on seven three-pointers while collecting nine boards, five dimes and two blocks for Kagawa, which mounted a 51-37 lead at the break that proved insurmountable for San-En.  

Angus Brandt complimented Vague well as he supplemented a double-double effort of 15 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and two steals. Hiroki Taniguchi also made his presence felt from deep after knocking down four triples to end up with 14 points. 

San-En, on the other hand, was led by Yusei Suguira's 16-point effort, as prolific imports Justin Knox and Robert Carter produced far from their usual numbers with 14 and 11 points, respectively.  

The Five Arrows became the lone second division team alive in the All Japan Basketball Championship tournament, and will next face the Alvark Tokyo, the team that sent Kiefer Ravena and the Shiga Lakestars crashing out.  

The elder Ravena put up 12 points, two assists and two steals, but it proved far from enough to overcome Tokyo as the Lakestars suffered a 75-92 beatdown.  

The Alvark rode on a strong surge in the fourth frame, as Shiga let open the floodgates that ballooned a slim 66-69 deficit into a precarious 68-85 hole.  

Sebas Saiz paced the winning side with a double-double of 19 points and 17 rebounds, while Ryan Rossiter added 15 points, five boards, two assists and two blocks.  

Shiga, on the other hand, saw Sean O'Mara's all-around line of 28 points, eight rebounds and three dimes go down the drain.  

Meanwhile, Dwight Ramos managed to stay alive in the title hunt as the Toyama Grouses turned back the Ibaraki Robots, 94-87, at the Hokkai Kitayell.  

Ramos produced five points, four rebounds and three assists for the Grouses, who weathered a late storm from the Robots in the fourth period after losing hold of a 16-point lead.  

Joshua Smith served as the anchor that helped Toyama withstand the comeback attempt, delivering a near double-double of 21 points, nine boards and five dimes.  

Julian Mavunga also flaunted his all-around wares with 20 points, nine assists, six rebounds and two blocks, while Keijuro Matsui chimed in 15 points on 3-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc.  

Chehales Tapscott, on the other hand, carried the cudgels for Ibaraki with 27 points and nine boards in the crushing loss.  

Over at the Kishiwada City Gymnasium, the Shinshu Brave Warriors pulled off a 69-67 escape act over the Hiroshima Dragonflies.  

Wayne Marshall poured out 15 points, seven rebounds and two assists, including the game-winning jump shot that punched Shinshu's ticket to the next round.  

Matthew Aquino, the 6-foot-8 Filipino center who is listed as a local in the Japanese hoop scene, did not see action for the Brave Warriors.  

Toyama will face the Akita Northern Happinets in the semi-finals on 1 December. Meanwhile, Shinshu will await the winner of the match between Tokyo and Kagawa for their semis date.  

Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.

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