By Adrian Stewart Co
Ilonggo Ferdinand “Thirdy” Ravena III was held scoreless but his team San-En NeoPhoenix scored a rare back-to-back victory in the 2020-21 Japan B.League season on Sunday at the Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center in Japan.
The former Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles standout only saw action for four minutes but it hardly mattered as the NeoPhoenix cruised to a close 80-74 victory over the Levanga Hokkaido.
Playing his second game back after being tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019, the Iloilo City-native Ravena misfired on his two attempts and finished with just one rebound, one assist and one steal.
Ravena’s lack of offense in the game was covered by his teammates as the NeoPhoenix recovered in the fourth quarter after being down in the first three quarters of the match.
Trailing 52-55 entering the fourth quarter, the NeoPhoenix unloaded a 15-3 scoring run behind Kyle Hunt and Stelan Jelovac to take a 67-58 lead with under five minutes remaining.
A deep Jelovac three later gave the NeoPhoenix a 72-63 lead, but Hokkaido roared back behind import Jordan Taylor, who hit two straight triples of his own to cut it to three, 72-69, with 1:34 left.
San-En answered with a floater from Hayato Kawashima with 32 seconds left to extend the lead to 74-69. A turnover in the following inbound possession for Hokkaido doomed any chances of a comeback.
Jelovac finished the match with double-double 22 points and 10 rebounds while also contributing three assists and a steal, while fellow import Hunt added 20 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks for the NeoPhoenix.
Kawashima also finished in double figures with 19 points and three three-point shots as the NeoPhoenix improved to 4-17 win-loss record. San-En will return to action on December 19 against Niigata Albirex BB.
Taylor had 21 points, five rebounds, six assists and two steals, while Shogo Tamaki chipped in 10 markers for Hokkaido, which fell to 4-17 after suffering its sixth consecutive defeat./ASC, WDJ