B.League: Thirdy, San-En get back at Kiefer's Shiga

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 03 2021 04:22 PM | Updated as of Oct 03 2021 05:18 PM

Thirdy Ravena and the San-En NeoPhoenix gave Shiga a taste of its own medicine, as they rallied from a double-digit deficit to stun the Lakestars in overtime, 101-96, at the Ukaru-chan Arena.

Thirdy helped spark a second half comeback for the NeoPhoenix after they trailed by as much as 18 points in the first half, and they would dominate in the extra session to complete the comeback.

San-En left the Ukaru-chan Arena with a split of the weekend series. On Saturday, it had been Kiefer Ravena and the Lakestars who took the shock victory after rallying back from 22 points down and waxing hot in the fourth quarter.

The visiting NeoPhoenix scored the first seven points in overtime to seize control of the game, and were steady at the line in the clutch to hold off the Lakestars.

Thirdy finished with 21 points on 6-of-13 shooting, on top of seven rebounds and five assists. Elias Harris added 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Robert Carter had 17 points including some clutch shots in the overtime period.

"It definitely felt better than how we felt yesterday," said Thirdy. "This game was kind of the opposite of how yesterday's game was. They made a big run in the first half, but we were able to bounce back in the second half."

"It was a team effort," he stressed.

Shiga had a comfortable 15-point lead at the half, 51-36, but San-En scored the first nine points of the third period, sparked by back-to-back triples by Carter. They were down by just six points, 72-66, at the end of the frame and had momentum on their side heading into the final quarter.

Thirdy gave San-En its first lead of the game with seven and a half minutes to play in regulation, sneaking in for a layup that made it 75-74. The teams traded baskets from there, with Shiga taking an 85-82 lead off a jumper by Teppei Kashiwagura with 2:26 to go.

But a split at the line by Justin Knox, plus a jumper by Harris with 1:26 left tied the count at 85, and neither team could gain control the rest of the way. Shiga had a chance to win in regulation after Kiefer forced Thirdy into a turnover with two seconds left, but Ovie Soko misfired on a jumper that could have won the game.

Harris and Carter conspired to put San-En in control in overtime, as they scored seven unanswered points. Free throws by Soko got Shiga on the board in the extra session, but a booming triple by Thirdy made it 97-89 for San-En with 2:22 to play, and the NeoPhoenix would not relinquish control from there.

"I was struggling from the three-point line the whole game," said Thirdy. "I was just so happy the shot went in."

San-En's defense held Shiga to one field goal in the fourth quarter -- a triple by Kiefer at the buzzer, when the game was already in hand for the NeoPhoenix.

Kiefer finished with 20 points and seven assists, while Soko had 20 points and 12 rebounds. Sean O’mara added 19 points and nine boards, but the Shiga imports struggled with foul trouble throughout the game.

San-En returns to action on October 9 against Niigata Albirex BB, the team that features Kobe Paras.

Meanwhile, Shiga will try to bounce back on October 9 against the Ibaraki Robots, the team of Javi Gomez de Liano.