Pinoys in Japan win most of their Christmas games; Abarrientos beats Belangel


MOST of the Filipino imports in the Japan league won their respective Christmas games, while RJ Abarrientos prevailed in his match against fellow national team guard SJ Belangel in the Korean Basketball League.

Thirdy Ravena, Matthew Wright and Ray Parks Jr. helped their teams win in the Japan B. League.

Mr. Ravena, the first Filipino import in Japan, unloaded 15 points as the San-En NeoPhoenix improved to 11-12 after a 92-79 win over Gunma. Parks also had 15 in an easy 104-66 win by the Nagoya Diamond Dolphins (17-6) over Niigata.

Former PBA star Mr. Wright put up 11 markers, seven assists and four boards in the Kyoto Hannaryz’s 91-69 win over Toyama to end a seven-game skid at 8-15.

Mr. Abarrientos, the ex-FEU ace, also did not disappoint in the battle between former Gilas Pilipinas guards against Mr. Belangel with 12 points in the 76-70 win of Ulsan Hyundai Mobis Phoebus over Daegu Kogas Pegasus.

Ulsan hiked its card to 15-9 to lurk behind top-seed Anyang KGC (16-8) with the steady performance of Mr. Abarrientos, who has been named to the 2023 KBL All-Star Game next month, the only Filipino to do so.

Belangel only had three points in limited action as Ethan Alvano and the Wonju DB Promy fell to Suwon KT SonicBoom, 77-64, to cap the Christmas Day slate for Filipino imports in South Korea.

Back in Japan, Kobe Paras scored 14 as Altiri Chiba trumped Kagawa, 100-66, while Jordan Heading contributed 10 in Nagasaki’s 93-82 win over Earthfriends Tokyo Z.

Dwight Ramos (Levanga Hokkaido) and Roosevelt Adams (Kagawa) were sidelined in the losses of their respective teams due to injury while Kiefer Ravena had 11 in the Shiga Lakestars’ 105-74 loss to Alvark Tokyo to fall at 4-19.

Greg Slaughter did not see action in the 71-67 win of the Rizing Zephyr Fukuoka against Yamagata. — John Bryan Ulanday