By JONAS TERRADO
Thirdy Ravena and Kobe Paras will be the latest Filipino players to square off as Japan’s B.League season enters its second week of hostilities.
Ravena and the San-En Neophoenix host the Paras-led Niigata Albirex to begin a two-game set Saturday at 6:05 p.m. local time (5:05 p.m. Philippine time) at the Toyohashi City General Gymnasium in Aichi, Japan.
Their return match is set Sunday at 2:05 p.m. (1:05 p.m. Philippine time).
Both players made good impressions in last week’s opener that saw Thirdy splitting a two-game series on the road against older brother Kiefer and the Shiga Lakestars in Otsu while Paras had an impressive showing for Niigata which went 1-1 against the Kyoto Hannaryz.
Thirdy’s 21 points helped San-En erase a big deficit to beat Shiga in overtime, 101-96, last Oct. 3 after dropping its season-opening assignment to the same team the previous day, 93-83.
Paras was huge in his first two B.League matches, averaging 17.5 points including a 25-point effort in his debut last Oct. 2.
Kiefer and the Lakestars are once again at home, this time facing the Ibaraki Robots, who will still be without Javi Gomez de Liano for the two matches at the Ukaruchan Arena.
Shiga and Ibaraki meet this afternoon at 5:05 p.m. (4:05 p.m. Philippine time) while their second match is tomorrow at 2:35 p.m. (1:35 p.m. Philippine time).
Gomez de Liano arrived in Japan just this week and is still under a 14-day quarantine period required for arriving passengers.
His younger brother Juan hopes to play longer minutes for B.League second division side Earthfriends Tokyo Z’s road trip against the Passlab Yamagata Wyverns at the Yamagata Prefectural General Sports Park Gymnasium in Tendo.
Tokyo Z plays Yamagata today at 6 p.m. (5 p.m. Philippine time) while tomorrow’s second encounter is slated at 4 p.m. (3 p.m. Philippine time).
Ray Parks Jr. is expected to once again miss the Nagoya Diamond Dolphins’ weekend games with the Hiroshima Dragonflies at home, Dwight Ramos has yet to complete his quarantine which will keep him out of the Toyama Grouses’ series with Alvark Tokyo.
Kemark Carino is also going to be out for the second division’s Aomori Wat’s against the Nishinomiya Storks.