Every week, Dribble Media will be handing out individual grades for the talented crop of Filipino imports now playing in the 2021-22 B.League season.
Players who missed action
Javi Gomez de Liaño, Ibaraki Robots – Quarantine protocols
Kenmark Cariño, Aomori Wat’s (Division II) – To make debut next week
Ray Parks Jr., Nagoya Diamond Dolphins
|Week 3||16.0||5.5||1.5||2.5||1.0||11/26 (42%)||4/12 (33%)||6/6 (100%)|
|Season||8.8||3.8||1.8||1.8||1.0||12/30 (40%)||4/14 (29%)||7/8 (88%)|
After seeing limited action in his first two games with his new team, Parks finally introduced himself to Japanese hoop fans last weekend. He started out slow in the opening half of Nagoya’s first game against the Toyama Grouses last Saturday, but Parks got into a groove after the halftime break. He scored 10 of his 15 points in the third quarter, and made 50% of his six attempts from beyond the arc.
Parks then poured in 17 markers the following day as the Diamond Dolphins asserted their mastery of the Grouses in two consecutive games. Nagoya’s wins came in lopsided decisions (94-68, 99-74), which explains why Parks only logged an average of 20.5 minutes against Toyama. But Parks made the most out of his limited playing time, as he put up 16.0 points, while also doing the work on defense with his 5.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals.
The lefty scoring wing only went 1-of-6 from the three-point line in the second game against the Grouses, but that shouldn’t be a cause of concern. During the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup, Parks, who played for the TNT Tropang Giga, led the league with a stellar 45.8% three-point shooting. Per a column written by Dribble Media’s Ryan Alba, Parks has developed a “smooth one-motion jumper without any obvious structural defects.”
The blowout victories against Toyama pulled down Parks’ minutes, but there’s no doubt that his numbers will still increase as the season progresses.
Ray’s Week 3 Grade: A-
Kobe Paras, Niigata Albirex BB
|Week 3||15.5||3.5||3.0||0.5||2.0||10/25 (40%)||4/11 (36%)||7/8 (88%)|
|Season||16.3||3.0||2.5||1.0||1.8||35/84 (42%)||12/34 (35%)||16/21 (76%)|
It was a disappointing weekend for Niigata as they absorbed two straight losses at the hands of the Levanga Hokkaido, extending their losing streak to three games.
The losses were deflating, especially the second game that saw Niigata build an early 18-point lead only to collapse in the second half, but Paras proved that he could take charge when needed. With their foreign import and leading scorer Roscoe Allen struggling with his shots, Paras led Niigata in scoring in last weekend’s games. The former University of the Philippines star had a couple of made threes when the Hokkaido big men dropped under a pick set for him, then proceeded to drive to the rim when the defense switched on him.
Paras’ much-improved touch from the outside has blended quite well with his quick first step and his ability to finish strong at the rim. He also made several assists in transition, although he is yet to show that he can effectively facilitate Niigata’s half-court sets. Still, Paras’ willingness to take command of the ball and his ability to get to the free throw line helped him earn an excellent impression last weekend.
Kobe’s Week 3 Grade: B+
Kiefer Ravena, Shiga Lakestars
|Week 3||6.0||2.5||1.5||1.5||1.5||3/10 (30%)||0/2 (0%)||6/8 (75%)|
|Season||11.2||2.3||5.0||1.8||1.3||20/44 (46%)||6/17 (35%)||21/25 (84%)|
Shiga managed to sweep the Kyoto Hannaryz last weekend, which extended their streak to four wins in a row. However, Kiefer took a step back in terms of his production, especially in the first game when he only hit one of his seven field goal attempts and failed to dish out an assist in 28 minutes of play.
In the second game against Kyoto, Kiefer only logged 15 minutes but that was because Shiga was already on cruise control when they built a wide 19-point lead after three quarters. Kiefer did not quite assert himself on the scoring column as he only shot a 2-of-3 clip from the field, but he was back to his efficient form. He finished with six points and four rebounds, and also compiled three assists and did not commit a single turnover.
It was a relatively quiet string of games for Kiefer, but look for him to put up more numbers when Shiga faces Parks Jr. and the streaking Nagoya this weekend.
Kiefer’s Week 3 Grade: B-
Dwight Ramos, Toyama Grouses
Week 3 Averages: 7.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 0.5 steals, 3.0 turnovers, 7-26 FG (27%), 1-9 3PT (11%)
Toyama extended their woes with a winless series of contests against Nagoya, dropping them further below the standings with a 0-6 slate. Ramos finally made his much-awaited B.League debut, but it was obvious right from the get-go that this was more of a “feel-out” weekend for the Gilas Pilipinas star. He, along with the whole Grouses squad, never had any rhythm going as the Diamond Dolphins walloped them by an average margin of 25.5 points in two games.
Still, the promising sight from Ramos’ debut was that Toyama really gave him a significant amount of touches on offense. Whether it’s because they want him to get going in his first two games in the league or that they are planning to give him a lead role, Ramos was more than willing to take charge for the Grouses. Although he didn’t shoot the ball well (27% FG), he led the team in those two games in terms of attempts (13.0) and dished out an average of 3.0 assists. Ramos will get plenty of chances to assert himself in this team, whether that be scoring or playmaking, and that will bode well on his individual development.
Ramos’ low shooting efficiency and his team’s winless weekend pulled down his grade, but his all-around play for Toyama surely showed a lot of potential.
Dwight’s Week 3 Grade: B-
Thirdy Ravena, San-En NeoPhoenix
|Week 3||9.5||2.5||1.5||1.5||1.0||8/26 (31%)||1/11 (9%)||2/6 (33%)|
|Season||13.3||4.7||2.5||1.5||1.5||27/77 (35%)||8/31 (26%)||18/26 (69%)|
It was a bad shooting weekend for Thirdy, and it didn’t help that San-En dropped both games against the Hiroshima Dragonflies. As a team, San-En’s three-point shooting was abysmal — they shot 21.1% in the first contest, then 12.5% the following game. The collective drought didn’t exempt Thirdy, who had a combined 1-of-11 clip from beyond the arc in Week 3 of the B.League games.
Thirdy also didn’t shoot the three-ball well back in Week 2 when he only produced a 3-of-10 clip, but he made up for it by going to the charity stripe at will and making his free throws (8-of-10 FT). However, Thirdy wasn’t able to replicate that feat against Hiroshima, causing his scoring output to drop in Week 3.
Some positive takeaways would be the defensive effort he put in when he recorded three steals in the second game, along with his low turnover count (1.0 TO) in both assignments. It was a forgettable weekend for Thirdy, but there’s no doubt that he will bounce back from this aberration.
Thirdy’s Week 3 Grade: C+
Juan Gomez de Liaño, Earthfriends Tokyo Z (Division II)
|Week 3||0.5||2.5||2.0||2.5||0/8 (0%)||0/3 (0%)||1/2 (50%)|
|Season||4.0||1.5||1.3||1.3||9/32 (28%)||5/15 (33%)||1/6 (17%)|
After playing limited minutes in his first four games, Gomez de Liaño finally got a huge break when Tokyo put him in the starting lineup in their first game against the Sendai 89ers. However, a bad game came at the wrong time for the former UP star guard as he missed all of his four shots and committed four turnovers in 12 minutes of play.
In the second game against Sendai, Gomez de Liaño still went on a 0-of-4 shooting, but he also came up with three assists and was a positive boost for Tokyo in the eight minutes that he played. However, Tokyo is still winless this season as they lost both assignments to Sendai.
Juan’s Week 3 Grade: C-