Alvark Tokyo guard Seiya Ando didn’t participate in the B. League All-Star Game on Jan. 18 in Sapporo, but he’s demonstrated time after time that he’s one of the league’s top guards.
By all accounts, Ando’s overall impact has been profound for the two-time defending champions in recent seasons.
Case in point: Saturday’s series opener against the visiting Toyama Grouses at Arena Tachikawa Tachihi, where Ando poured in 21 points (three shy of his season high against the Kyoto Hannaryz on Oct. 19) and handed out six assists in the Alvark’s 82-71 triumph.
Ando made 5 of 8 2-point shots and connected on 2 of 4 from 3-point range. He also sank all five of his free-throw attempts in a rock-solid performance. (He’s averaging 11.8 points and 4.5 assists per game.)
“It was a tough game today, but I was relieved to be pushed by my coach and (we) managed to win,” Ando told reporters. “I was more aggressive than usual (on offense).”
Serbian forward Milan Macvan paced the Alvark (24-7) with 23 points, including 7 of 7 on 2-point shots. Daiki Tanaka poured in 13 points and Alex Kirk had 11 points, nine rebounds and two blocks.
“Despite the ups and downs in the game, we scored aggressively with No. 3 Ando and No. 24 Tanaka,” Macvan commented, “and I was able to demonstrate my own personality.
“We’ve made good adjustments to the team in the second half of the season, so I’d like to do better from here and contribute to the team.”
Naoki Uto led the Grouses (12-19) with 22 points, while newcomer Isaac Butts had 14 points and 15 rebounds.
After the game, Alvark coach Luka Pavicevic summed it up this way: “The players fought really well and won an important game.”
Northern Happinets 63, Albirex BB 60
In Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture, veteran center Javier Carter was Akita’s lone double-digit scorer, providing 15 points along with five steals in a down-to-the-wire win over the hosts.
Carter canned 5 of 7 3s for the Northern Happinets (14-16).
Xavier Gibson finished with 18 points for Niigata (9-22), Nick Perkins poured in 14 points and pulled down 14 boards. Kei Igarashi chipped in with 12 points and five assists.
Sunrockers 82, Levanga 76
In Sapporo, balanced scoring propelled Shibuya past the hosts.
Sebastian Saiz’s 20-point, 13-rebound outing and 10 points apiece from Charles Jackson, Kenta Hirose and Morihisa Yamauchi highlighted the Sunrockers’ well-rounded effort. Leo Vendrame finished with nine points and dished out six assists for Shibuya (21-10).
Kennedy Meeks scored 22 points and Markeith Cummings had 21 for the Levanga (11-20), who have dropped seven straight.
SeaHorses 98, Diamond Dolphins 93 (OT)
In Nagoya, Davante Gardner delivered a 32-point, 16-rebound, five-assist performance and surging Mikawa prevailed in overtime.
Cedric Simmons netted 15 points and Takuya Kawamura added 14 for the SeaHorses (14-17), who have won nine consecutive contests.
Justin Burrell had 37 points, including 15 of 17 on 2-point attempts, for the Diamond Dolphins (12-19). Takaya Sasayama provided 23 points and nine assists. Hilton Armstrong hauled in 14 rebounds.
Lakestars 71, Susanoo Magic 64
In Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, Jeff Ayres’ 17-point, 21-rebound effort helped carry the hosts past struggling Shimane.
Takumi Saito added 15 points and six assists for the Lakestars (14-17) and Masaya Karimata scored 10 points.
Robert Carter had 23 points and Brian Qvale scored 20 and snared 15 rebounds for the Susanoo Magic (10-21), who shot 36.1 percent from the floor.
Shiga held a 56-38 rebounding advantage.
Golden Kings 76, B-Corsairs 70
In Okinawa City, De’Mon Brooks had a team-best 24 points and Ryukyu finished strong to hold off Yokohama.
Ryuichi Kishimoto added 16 points and Jack Cooley had 14 points and 15 rebounds for the Golden Kings (20-11), who ended a three-game slide.
Reginald Becton paced the B-Corsairs (8-22) with 24 points and 13 boards, while William McDonald scored 14 points.
Evessa 72, Brex 69
In Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, Osaka had a stronger rebounding performance than the hosts in a game in which both teams shot poorly from 3-point range.
The Evessa outrebounded the Brex 48-35.
Osaka (21-9), which has won five straight, was 3 of 13 from long range; Utsunomiya (23-8) made 5 of 28.
Josh Harrellson paced the Evessa with 29 points and 11 boards. Ira Brown added 13 points and 10 rebounds and Takuya Hashimoto had 12 points, while backup guard Tatsuya Ito dished out seven assists.
Ryan Rossiter had 20 points and 14 rebounds for the Brex. Makoto Hiejima scored 12 points, rookie Kai Toews added 11 and a team-high five assists and Yusuke Endo contributed 10 points.
Jets 75, NeoPhoenix 56
In Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, Gavin Edwards’ 17 points and 11 rebounds led Chiba past San-en.
Josh Duncan scored 14 points and Yuki Togashi had 13 for the Jets (21-10), who have won six straight.
For the NeoPhoenix (3-28), Viacheslav Kravtsov had 13 points.
San-en shot 30.8 percent from the field.
Brave Thunders 94, Hannaryz 51
In Kawasaki, the Brave Thunders raced out to a 51-25 halftime lead and avenged their series-opening loss to Kyoto on Friday.
Nick Fazekas had team-high totals in points (18) and rebounds (13) for Kawasaki (26-6). Yuma Fujii scored 15 points and dished out four assists. Naoya Kumagae added 14 points, Keisuke Masuda contributed 13 point and a game-best four steals, Yuto Otsuka had 10 points and Naoto Tsuji chipped in with nine points and six assists.
David Simon, the Hannaryz’s lone double-digit scorer, finished with 12 points.
Kyoto (15-17) shot 34.5 percent from the field as its seven-game win streak ended.