Thirdy Ravena and San-En NeoPhoenix finally put a stop to its long 14-game skid after pulling a hard-earned triumph against the Seahorses Mikawa, 88-80, in the Japan B.League on Sunday, December 26, at the Wing Arena Kariya.

/ 27 December 2021

San-En got their Christmas wish a day late as it drilled its long-awaited win to improve its standing, 4-19, in the West Conference matchup of the 2021-22 Japan B.League season. 

Justin Knox led San-En with an explosive 20 points and nine rebounds, while Elias Harris backstopped with 19 points, seven boards, five dimes, and two steals.

Coming off an embarrassing 28-point Christmas Day loss to the same opponents on Saturday, the NeoPhoenix managed a 13-2 rally to seize a 68-62 lead with 4:41 left to play.

With Thirdy Ravena being fouled out with exactly two minutes left in the clock, San-En’s Yoshiyuki Matsuwaki, Yudai Nishida, and Justin Knox showed their poise, nailing big hits to keep San-En in control.

Matsuwaki mowed down a crucial three-pointer to put San-En’s lead to a two-possession game, 83-77, capping the win with only 58 seconds remaining. 

San-En coach Branislav Vićentić commended his players for stepping up in the absence of American import Robert Carter due to injury.

“We were missing Robert Carter (but) you could see today, the team looked really tough and really strong, and I want to congratulate my players and my coaching staff for a very deserved win,” he opined.

Ravena finished with 11 points, four rebounds, and four assists, while Matwuwaki Yoshiyuki ended with 17 points.

Meanwhile, Jarrod Uthoff top-scored the Seahorses with 26 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, and two steals with the squad falling to a 13-10 record.

Yudai Nishida notched 14 points and six assists, while Davante Gardner had 13 points and eight boards off the bench in the losing effort.

San-En looks to end their 2021 with a strong note as they face the league-leading Ryukyu Golden Kings at Toyohashi City Gymnasium on Wednesday, December 29, 6:05 pm (Manila time).

The Scores

San-En 88 – Knox 20, Harris 19, Matsuwaki 17, Ravena 11, Yamauchi 7, Tawatari 6, Tsuyama 6, Okada 2, Ota 0, Sugiura 0, Hanzawa 0.

Mikawa 80 – Uthoff 26, Nishida 14, Gardner 13, Schafer 9, Collinsworth 6, Hosoya 6, Nagano 6, Sumino 0, Kashiwagi 0, Negoro 0.

Quarters: 15-16, 25-29, 53-55, 88-80.