By Adrian Stewart Co
Ferdinand “Thirdy” Ravena III and the San-En NeoPhoenix cruised to their third straight victory in the 2020-21 B.League Season after defeating Niigata Albirex BB, 85-81, on Saturday at Toyohashi City Gymnasium.
The former Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles star bounced back from two lackluster outing as he finished with 11 points to go along with two rebounds and one assist for the NeoPhoenix.
Apart from being a spark off the bench, the Iloilo City-native guard also played a key defensive stop down the stretch as he prevented Niigata’s Allen Durham from receiving the ball with the NeoPhoenix clinging to an 83-81 advantage.
Ravena got switched on Durham and, despite giving up much height and weight, the former did not back down against the multi-time PBA Best Import, completely denying him at the post.
The denial resulted in a missed attempt from Jason Washburn of Niigata while the NeoPhoenix wrapped up the victory on the other end on two free throws by Stevan Jerovatu.
Kyle Hunt finished with double-double 17 points and 12 rebounds, Jerovatu also had a double-double of 13 markers and 11 boards and Takanobu Nishikawa contributed 12 markers for the NeoPhoenix
The NeoPhoenix had the lead from the start as they went up 30-17 in the opening quarter and were still ahead at 66-54 entering the fourth quarter.
Washburn and Teppei Kashiwagura though sparked a 15-0 spurt for Niigata to gain a 69-68 lead before keeping the match close at 81-all. The NeoPhoenix then surged ahead at 83-81 on two freebies by Hunt with 26 seconds left.
Durham led the way with 14 points, nine rebounds, and five assists while Igarashi chipped in 12 markers for the Niigata, which slipped to 6-16 win-loss record./ASC, WDJ