By NIKOLE JAVIER
Five Filipino imports scored in double figures as the Asia All-Stars came out victorious against the Rising Stars, 118-114, in the Japan B.League All-Star Game at Mito, Arena on Friday night, Jan. 13.
Matthew Wright led the way for the Filipino crew with 14 points to go along with nine rebounds.
Kobe Paras of Altiri Chiba and Fukuoka’s Greg Slaughter both contributed 12 points each.
Nagoya’s Bobby Ray Parks Jr. and Nagasaki’s Jordan Heading had 11 points apiece.
The Asia All-Stars leaned on their strong first half of 69-49 to keep the Rising Stars at bay at the buzzer.
After their 31-17 third-quarter finish, the league’s Rising Stars looked like they could be making a complete recovery from the first-half blowout.
Despite their 11-0 run that turn it into a two-point game, 116-114, with less than two minutes to spare, Weijia Wang’s final basket was enough to keep the victory on the side of the league’s imports.
Wang also topped the scoring for the Asia All-Star with 18 points.
“Well, I think this is a testament that All-Star, first of all, I’d like to thank the B.League for making this possible, but I came here alone. [I was] a lone Filipino, but to see it right now with everybody here, I think is just a testament to how amazing and what the B.League is doing, not just [for] the Japanese players, but the [other] Asians as well. Giving us this opportunity, such a big factor of course is I’m very happy to have my brothers, represent the country that I’m here. Even though I’m far away from home, I’m still carrying the flag wherever I go,” said Thirdy Ravena who was the first of the many Filipinos now seeing action in the league.
Meanwhile, Taiki Okada of the league’s Rising Stars finished with 26 points on a decent 8-of-16 shooting clip from outside.
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