Gibbs carries Toyota Motors to OT victory over Hitachi


Staff Writer

Toyota Motors’ Jeffrey Gibbs clicked in overtime, scoring 14 points in that period alone, to help the Alvark to a 98-84 victory over the Hitachi Sunrockers at Ota City General Gymnasium on Saturday.

The Sunrockers, who are tied for last place with the Chiba Jets in the NBL’s Eastern Conference standings, played patiently and knotted the score at 75-75 on a Fumio Nishimura layup with 26.5 seconds left in the fourth quarter, sending the contest into the extra five minutes.

But Hitachi’s resistance was ruined by Gibbs, who appeared to be nearly unstoppable in the decisive overtime, where he had a monster dunk.

Gibbs, an undersized post player at 188 cm, scored a game-high 28 points with 15 rebounds and three blocks. Philip Ricci followed his fellow American with 18 points.

“I just knew I had to do whatever coach ask me to do,” Gibbs said after the game. “I think what really got me going was when I had the dunk off an assist from Ken Tanaka. I think it really got me motivated to take over.

“With me and Phil, (head coach Donald Beck) expected us to do a lot more, just like other coaches expect for their import players.”

For Hitachi, forward Kenta Hirose had a team-high 20 points, shooting 2-for-3 from the 3-point arc. Hitachi out-rebounded the Alvark 48-41.

With the victory, Toyota Motors (13-6) extended its winning streak to five, while the Sunrockers (4-15) took their seventh consecutive loss.

“We just have to keep it going, keep it rolling,” said Gibbs, referring to the winning streak for Toyota Motors. “Pretty much can’t look back. Every game we go out to play, we look to win every single game. We look to dominate every single opponent.”