Celebration Day For Brex Nation
Gibbs Takes Over In 4th Quarter As Tochigi Edges Kawasaki For 1st Title Of New League
In the closing seconds of the B.League championship game, Tochigi Brex forward Jeff Gibbs skipped off the court on his left foot after injuring his right ankle diving for a loose ball.
A tough break, but nothing compared to havoc he wreaked on the Kawasaki Brave Thunders over the previous nine-plus minutes.
Gibbs scored 16 of his game-high 25 points in the fourth quarter, when Tochigi pulled away late for an 85-79 victory and the league's inaugural title before a sellout crowd of 10, 144 at Tokyo's Yoyogi Gym.
Impulse Romp To Fourth Straight Green Bowl Title
Panasonic Impulse are best in the west. Panasonic easily beat the Elecom Kobe Finies 55-3 in the Green Bowl Championship game - the third year in a row with the same outcome.
Despite the lopsided final score, things started out evenly with Elecom’s offense moving the ball well. The opening drive saw five Elecom receivers pick up positive yards and starting QB Keijiro Kasuya completing all of his pass attempts. Elecom got no points on that drive but the offense got back to work on the next possession and got a field goal. At 6:31 in the second quarter Elecom’s offense had possessed the ball for all but three and a half minutes of the game.
Tough To Call This Shot
Kawasaki, Tochigi Evenly Matched In Clash For Inaugural League Title
As match-ups go, the B.League championship game on Saturday between the Kawasaki Brave Thunders and Tochigi Brex is about as close as you can get. Trying to find an edge is like looking for an open man under the basket. One might be there, but it's not always so easy to spot.
"We know they're a strong team, they finished with the second-best record in the league," Kawasaki center Nick Fazekas, the league scoring leader, told Inside Sport Japan earlier this week. "They got a lot of good weapons, so I think it's hard to just focus on one guy. I think we're going to have play collectively as a group really well in order to beat them."
Journey To 1st B.League Championship Starts Today
First the historic merger. Then a grueling but exciting 60-game season. Now it's time to crown the first champion of the B.League.
The B.League playoffs tip off today with the eight remaining teams vying to advance to the finals, where the winner will walk away with a Tiffany-designed trophy and a cool 5o million yen.
The Kawasaki Brave Thunders, the final champion of the National Basketball League before its merger with the bj.League, will be the prohibitive favorite. Led by scoring champion Nick Fazekas, the Brave Thunders stormed to a league-best 49-11 record.
Natsu Basho 2017: A New Dawn?
When tickets went on sale for the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament in April, they disappeared in a flash. Within an hour, Tokyo’s Kokugikan was sold out for all fifteen days as the Kisenosato-effect continues to take hold of the Sumo world.
The 30-year old’s back-to-back Emperor’s Cup wins seem to have brought a level of enthusiasm for Sumo in Japan that has not been felt, perhaps, since the 1990s when Sumo last had four grand champions at the same time.
Silver Star Smother Pirates’ Unorthodox Offense
Asahi Beer opened their Pearl Bowl with an easy 28-3 victory over a Penta Ocean Pirates team that unveiled an offense that started out as novel, but quickly degraded into one-dimensional futility. QB Ryosuke Nishizawa is the only QB on the Pirates’ roster; however (despite standing on the sidelines in uniform) being injured meant all snaps under center went to tight end Hiroyuki Akatsu who handed the ball off or kept it himself on every play until halfway through the third quarter. You read that right, the Pirates attempted zero passes in the first half. The Pirates’ first drive looked promising as they marched down the field on a ten minute, 16 play drive that befuddled the Silver Star defense and resulted in a field goal. The field goal was kicked by none other than today’s makeshift wildcat operator, Hiroyuki Akatsu.
Cyclones Blow Away Golden Fighters En Route to Green Bowl Challenge Final
In the last of the first series of games (and the only one played outside Kobe) Nagoya Cyclones showed the difference in class between most X1 teams and those in X2 with a comprehensive 27-3 win over Golden Fighters. Nagoya scored TDs in the air, on the ground and on an 87-yard punt return by Shoichi Matsubara. Matsubara also finished the day’s scoring in the third quarter with an 11-yard TD reception.
Finies Outlast Challengers To Reach Green Bowl Final
Interceptions, Missed FGs And No Visa For QB Niznak Too Much For Asahi Soft Drinks To Overcome
In the second game of the 2017 Green Bowl, with a warm afternoon breeze drifting though Oji Stadium, the Elecom Kobe Finies held on for a 10-7 win over the Asahi Soft Drinks Challengers.
Fans who came to get a look at the Challengers' newest foreign import, QB Alex Niznak, saw him in action, though not under center. Roaming the sidelines, enthusiastically calling plays while wearing a headset over his blonde crew cut, Niznak stood out. Head and shoulders above the other coaching staff, he looked a little out of place but that’s not to say he didn’t fit in with his new team.
Game Of MisThrowns
All Mistubishi Lions and Fujitsu Xerox Minerva kept it close early on in the second Pearl Bowl game played in May 4th. The Lions had a ten point edge at the half, but distanced themselves in the second period, winning 38-7. This was the sixth game of the 2017 Pearl Bowl and the only game so far where the mercy rule* was not used.
All Mitsubishi did however run 25 more plays than their opponents and gained 469 yards on offense to Minerva’s 95.
Despite 300 yards combined through the air, a windy night meant there were five recorded INTs as well three other interception opportunities dropped.
Ruling The Volatile East
Brex Clinch Crown In BLeague’s Most Competitive Division
Having missed their chance a few days ago, when they were dealt back-to-back losses in a weekend series for the first time this season, the Tochigi Brex, despite missing two veterans, put it all together to finish off the title race in the B.League's East conference.
Globetrotting QB Niznak Reaches Main Destination With Asahi Soft Drinks Challengers
When Alex Niznak eventually takes the field as the Asahi Soft Drinks Challengers’ new quarterback, he will not only be playing on a fourth team in a fourth country in less than two years, it will be on a fourth continent.
Talk about a well-traveled athlete.
Following his final season of college football in the U.S. in the fall of 2015, Niznak played successive seasons in Sweden and Brazil. Through all the globetrotting though his first choice of destination was always Japan, and after missing out on one team, he has landed with the Challengers and hit the ground running.
IBM Big Blue Blowout The Bulls In Pearl Bowl Opener
The Big Blue kicked off the Pearl Bowl with a 34-3 victory over the outmatched Bulls on a cloudy day in Kawasaki. IBM’s unrelenting and fast-paced offense overwhelmed the Bulls as Big Blue scored on all but one possession. The victors had a bigger battle with the men in zebra stripes than they did with their opponents, being penalized six times including a fumble recovery that was erased by an offside call and two touchdowns brought back on OPI and holding.
Living On The Razor's Edge
Freshly Shaven Parker Helps Jets Complete Vital Sweep Of East Rival Alvark
For his fifth wedding anniversary, veteran forward Michael Parker acceded to his wife’s wishes and shaved off the bushy facial hair that had been his trademark this season. It seemed appropriate given the close shaves that the Chiba Jets had over the weekend in a quest to improve their playoff situation.
Holding on for an 84-78 victory on Sunday at Tokyo's Yoyogi No. 2 Gym, the Jets completed a sweep of the two-game series with the Tokyo Alvark, the team they are trying to chase down for all-important second place in the East Division. With seven games left, the Jets are now just one game behind the Alvark.
Fighters Pull Away In Fourth Quarter To Win Season-Opener
Reigning National Champions Kwansei Gakuin met perennial Kanto powerhouse Keio today in the kick-off (for KG) of the Spring College football season. Although spring games have no affect on actual league standings, they are hard fought contests for both regional and school pride.
Difficult Second Season Continues For Sunwolves
Only six days after their dramatic win against the Bulls, the Sunwolves were brought back down to earth with a crushing 50 - 3 defeat against the Crusaders in Christchurch
Most bookmakers had written off the away side's chances before a ball was kicked but the manner in which the Sunwolves surrendered possession and leaked tries meant the match was done and dusted by half time.
Experience, Emotion Help Sunwolves To First Win Of Season
The Sunwolves won their first match of the season on Saturday, in a tight encounter against the Bulls at Chichibunomiya Stadium. The return of senior Japanese players, including Fumiaki Tanaka, Kotaro Matsushima, Yu Tamura, Shunsuke Nunomaki and Keita Inagaki, added composure to the team and galvanised the home fans.
Hayden Cripps got things rolling with a clever chip for captain Timothy Lafaele to chase. The ball was then swept out to the left wing, with debutant Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco racing to the corner to score the first try of the match.
Kisenosato Wins Title After Dramatic Playoff
New Yokozuna Downs Ozeki Terunofuji Twice on Final Day Despite Serious Injury
Kisenosato’s January promotion to yokozuna in January made this year’s Osaka basho one of the most highly anticipated tournaments in recent times.
In a incredible display that will be remembered for years to come, Kisenosato powered his way through injury to claim a valiant come-from-behind yusho.
The Ibaraki native’s campaign began with 12 consecutive wins. With fellow yokozuna Hakuho pulling out injured and Harumafuji and Kakuryu suffering early defeats, Kisenosato looked a sure bet to take back-to-back titles.
However, the dream looked to have been derailed on day 13, when a determined Harumafuji blasted Kisenosato out of the dohyo and onto his shoulder. The 30-year old winced in pain and took a long time to get up as the crowd fell silent.
A Season Like No Other
JX-Eneos Rolls Over Toyota In WJBL Finals To Complete Historic Span Of Perfection
With the exception of losing the opening tipoff and his star player early in the second half - the latter being much more serious, but in the end, also not much of a factor--there was little that concerned JX-Eneos Sunflowers head coach Tom Hovasse as his team finished off the most dominant season in the history of the Women’s Japan Basketball League. JX-Eneos capped a perfect season by routing the overmatched Toyota Antelopes 75-51 on Sunday at Tokyo's Yoyogi No. 2 Gym, completing a three-game sweep of the best-of-five WJBL championship finals for their ninth consecutive crown.
2017 Pearl Bowl Matchups Set
The schedule for the 39th edition of the Pearl Bowl was released at last weeks Xleague awards ceremony in Tokyo.
The spring tournament kicks off at 2pm on April 22nd at Fujitsu Stadium with defending champion IBM Big Blue taking on Bulls Football Club. Lixil Deers against newly promoted Fuji Xerox Minerva AFC will follow that game at 5pm.The twelve teams are divided into four groups of three with the winner of each group advancing to the semi final.
All games are in Kawasaki with the exception of the final which will be played at Tokyo Dome.
2016 All-XLeague Awards
Japan’s National Football Association held its annual awards show at a central Tokyo hotel on Jan 28th
National champions Fujitsu Frontiers led the way with nine players selected to the All X-League team. Runner-up Obic Seagulls had six and Semi-finalists Panasonic had four apiece.