By JONAS TERRADO
Kiefer Ravena helped spark a fourth quarter comeback as the Shiga Lakestars beat Thirdy Ravena and the San-En Neophoenix in their much-anticipated B.League season-opening duel Saturday, Oct. 2 at the Ukaruchan Arena in Otsu, Japan.
The elder Ravena had a hand in the Lakestars’ furious rally with four points, four assists and two steals in the final period that stunned the Neophoenix, who appeared to be in control when they took a 22-point lead in the third quarter.
Import Ovie Soko finished the job for Shiga with 11 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, giving Kiefer a good start to his maiden B.League campaign and bragging over Thirdy in the first of the two-game weekend series.
The two Ravenas and their teams meet again Sunday, Oct. 3 in a 1:05 p.m. Philippine time tipoff to wrap up the Japanese league’s opening week.
Kiefer came off the bench to produce 11 points, three rebounds, eight assists and three steals in almost 26 minutes in the game that was attended by Filipinos who took advantage of the free tickets offered by the host Lakestars.
Countless others back home tuned in to their television sets and online platforms to watch the game that highlighted a day where five Filipino players made their season debuts in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Thirdy finished with 11 points, hitting six in the first quarter, but shot 4-of-14 from the field to begin his second season with the Neophoenix. He also had five rebounds and two steals in 31 minutes as a starter.
He was one of five players in double figures for San-En which rolled to a 52-35 halftime lead and gained a 61-39 advantage almost three minutes gone by in the third on Robert Carter’s basket.
Shiga entered the final quarter down 74-63 but a Ravena three and a pass that led to Sean O’Mara’s dunk in transition happened during an incredible 19 straight points by the Lakestars that gave them an 82-74 lead.
Elias Harris topscored for the Neophoenix with 19 points and nine rebounds.