Philippines vs Japan: San Miguel Beermen dethrones Ryukyu Golden Kings at EASL’s ‘Terrific 12’ in Macau

Takumi Ishizaki, Terrence Romeo
Takumi Ishizaki, Terrence Romeo

San Miguel Beermen dethroned defending champion Ryukyu Golden Kings of Japan, 101-92, on the evening of September 19, 2019 in the East Asia Super League tournament “Terrific 12” at the Tap Seac-Multi-Sport Pavilion in Macau, China. This gave the Philippine Basketball Association team the semis spot in Group B.

Denz Wells exploded for 42 points while Terrence Romeo and Lester Prosper added 18 and 15 markers, respectively, for San Miguel Beermen. They are now set to meet Group D semifinalist Liaoning Flying Leopards on September 21, 2019.

“From the start, we knew this would be a difficult game for us,” San Miguel Beermen head coach Leo Austria. “After the loss of the defending champions, they will come out fighting hard. They’re the defending champions and we know they have a good game plan against us but we’re ready for any eventuality.”

Leading 14-2 early, the Ryukyu Golden Kings had a fine start. But Wells and Romeo joined forces to close the period with a 29-10 run to control the tempo of the game, 31-24.

But the B.League team, behind import De’Mon Brooks, stayed within striking distance as his two free throws cut the San Miguel Beermen’s lead to 70-74 with 9:51 left in the game. Wells again anchored another San Miguel Beermen surge and his one-hand slam gave them a 90-77 lead with 5:03 remaining in the game.

The Ryukyu Golden Kings sliced the lead to single digit on Hayato Kantake’s triple, 86-94. But Wells hit a jumper in the next play to start a crucial 7-3 exchange to put the game out of reach, 101-89, 68 seconds left in the game.

Brooks led the Ryukyu Golden Kings with 34 points and 11 rebounds. Ryuichi Kishimoto chipped in 12 markers.

In Group A, SK Knights grabbed the semis spot after beating the Chiba Jets, 86-76. KJ McDaniels exploded for 47 points to lift TNT KaTropa to a 99-90 win over Niigata Albirex of Japan as TNT KaTropa ended their campaign here on a high note.

McDaniels also hauled down 17 rebounds and got solid support from Roger Pogoy and Almond Vosotros. TNT KaTropa finished their Group D campaign with a 1-1 record.

Both teams were already eliminated after losing their matches to Group D semifinalist Liaoning Flying Leopards but still gave out their best to end their respective campaign on a positive note. Nick Perkins led Niigata with 34 points and 12 rebounds while Shinsuke Kashiwagi and Yuichi Ikeda contributed 17 and 16 markers, respectively.

Philippines vs Japan: TNT KaTropa, Niigata Albirex play at EASL’s ‘Terrific 12’ in São Lázaro, Macau, China

KJ McDaniels
KJ McDaniels

Kevin “K.J.” McDaniels Jr., 26, exploded for 47 points to lift TNT KaTropa of the Philippines to a 99-90 win over Niigata Albirex of Japan in the East Asia Super League’s invitation tournament “The Terrific 12.” The game took palce at the Tap Seac-Multi-Sport Pavilion in São Lázaro, Macau, China on September 18, 2019.

McDaniels also hauled down 17 rebounds and got solid support from Roger Pogoy, 27, and Almond Vosotros, 29, as KaTropa finished their Group D campaign with a 1-1 record. TNT mentor Mark Dickel, 42, said, “We’re lucky to have KJ in the team.”

“He makes the game much, much easier,” Dickel said of McDaniels. “He filled in for Terrence Jones last conference and we’re very fortunate of having a very good player helping us a lot and going into our first game next week, it’s always good to take a win. We didn’t want to come away from here having lost our first two games.”

TNT KaTropa and Niigata Albirex were already eliminated after losing their matches to Group D semifinalist Liaoning Flying Leopards of China. But the teams from the Philippines and Japan still gave out their best to end their respective campaign on a positive note.

Pogoy gave KaTropa an 82-77 lead but Niigata import Nick Perkins, 22, responded with a personal 5-0 run to tie the count at 82-all with 5:31 remaining. McDaniels then ignited a 9-4 exchange to give TNT a 91-85 lead with 2:41 left in the game.

A three-pointer by Yuki Ueta, 32, put the Japanese club back in the game, 88-91, but Vosotros, a late addition to the team here along with Samboy de Leon, 27, answered with his own triple to push the lead back to 94-88, 1:32 left. After Niigata team captain Kei Igarashi, 39, converted two free throws, 90-94, McDaniels finished the game with five straight points to give TNT KaTropa a morale-boosting victory.

The KaTropa played without their second import McKenzie Moore due to strained calf injury and Dickel opted to rest Jayson Castro, 33, and Troy Rosario, 27, as they prepare for the PBA’s Governors’ Cup. Perkins led Niigata with 34 points and 12 rebounds while Shinsuke Kashiwagi, 37, and Yuichi Ikeda, 37, contributed 17 and 16 markers, respectively.

UFC fighter Li Jingliang: MMA fighters have to very social

Li Jingliang, Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos
Li Jingliang, Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos

Fighting out of Beijing, China, “The Leech” Li Jingliang, 31, is one of the top Asian mixed martial artists currently signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Recently, he talked about the importance of being a people person to MMA fighters like him.

“MMA is different as a sport,” Li pointed out. “You have to be very social. You meet different people from all over the world.”

“You have to learn different skills from different people,” the Beijing native continued. “It’s also very fashionable and we look cool.”

Born in Tacheng, Xinjiang, China on March 20, 1988, Li has been competing professionally since 2007. He made his professional MMA debut in Art of War in 2007 and competed in Ultimate Martial Arts Combat in and in Legend Fighting Championship from 2010 to 2013 before joining the UFC in 2014.

On August 31, 2019, Li earned his ninth UFC win at “UFC Fight Night 157” at the Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre Arena in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China. He knocked out Elizeu “Capoiera” Zaleski dos Santos, 32, of Curitiba, Parana, Brazil.

Li often looks at today’s MMA crowds and thinks back to when people were still coming to grips with what was still a relatively new sport in Asia back in the early 2000s. Legend FC and its stable of fighters sought to educate them.

“People didn’t really know that much about MMA and the rules,” Li recalled. “Mainly they thought it was just two people fighting each other. Crowds were often small but for us this was the start of everything.”

The Chinese MMA fighter has started to reach out as an MMA educator himself with a series of training videos available online. He was delighted to hear the news of the Legend FC relaunch in 2018.

On September 14, 2019, Li attended “Legend FC 13“ at the MGM Theater in Taipa, Ilhas, Macau, China. It is his dream to the next generation of fighters from his country emerge from the action.

“Now, that Legend FC is back the younger generation of Chinese fighters will have a chance to fight,” Li said. “It is a great step for their careers and maybe one day they can get to the UFC too.”

“Ten years ago people didn’t know about the sport,” the Chinese UFC fighter continued. “Now, they know it is safe. It’s tough. It’s physical but it is also about the strategy in your mind.”

Meanwhile, watch all the “Legend FC 13” bouts here:

Utsunomiya Brex’s Makoto Hiejima: We’ll energize not only Asia but also the world via EASL’s ‘The Terrific 12’games

Makoto Hiejima

Makoto Hiejima, 29, of the Japanese B.League team Utsunomiya Brex is ready to represent Japan in “The Terrific 12.” He is confident about the performance of Japanese players in the upcoming international basketball tournament of the East Asia Super League.

The EASL will hold “The Terrific 12” from September 17-22, 2019 at the Tap Seac Multi-Sport Pavilion in Macao, China. The event presents an opportunity to showcase respective leagues and players to basketball fans in other geographies.

The best clubs and players from China, Japan, South Korea and the Philippines will go up against their international champion counterparts in “The Terrific 12.” The international basketball tournament is recognized by the Fédération Internationale de Basketball (FIBA).

“Although the Japanese teams are getting stronger, there’s a need to experience more games against top opponents through EASL,” Hiejima stated. “We will energize not only Asia, but also the world via the games.”

Born in Fukuoka, Japan on April 11, 1990, Hiejima went to Rakunan in Kyoto, Japan and in Aoyama Gakuin University in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan. He played for the Aisin SeaHorses Mikawa from 2013 to 2018.

Hiejima signed with Utsunomiya Brex in July 2018 and with the National Basketball League team Brisbane Bullets of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia in August 2018.

On January 5, 2019, the Bullets released Hiejima. He joined the Utsunomiya Brex on January 9, 2019 for the rest of the season.

“The Terrific 12” is filled to the brim with All-Star and national team talent from the best teams across East Asia. The teams are championship contenders in their respective leagues.

Full five-day tournament packages are also available at MOP 400 (standard ticket). Tickets are available for purchase through the following three ways:

  1. Online purchasing via online ticketing platforms Macau TicketingDaMai TicketsQupiaowang and com.cn
  2. Retail outlets of Macau Ticketing
  3. On-site ticketing counter of Macau Ticketing at the Tap Seac Multisport Pavilion (available on September 17, 18, 19, 21 and 22, 2019)

Teams are leaving nothing to chance and have assembled their best rosters, including national team players and foreign imports. Meanwhile, here is a clip from the EASL: